#DefyHateNow is an urgent community peacebuilding, training and conflict reconciliation project aimed to strengthen the voices and support the actions of emergent, primarily youth oriented civil society organizations in South Sudan. Initiated by the Berlin-based r0g_agency for open culture and critical transformation, in collaboration with the Juba-based Ebony Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS) and the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO South Sudan), #DefyHateNow aims to raise awareness of and develop means to counter social media based hate speech, conflict rhetoric and directed online incitement to violence. The project responds to South Sudan’s ongoing civil crisis by addressing the roles played by a wide range of social media users incuding diaspora South Sudanese in either exacerbating or helping mitigate issues, particularly since the eruption of crisis on December 15, 2013.
On July 8th 2014 the ‘South Sudan Inside-Out: Rebooting the Peace’ conference, opened by Christoph Strässer, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid was held simultaneously in Berlin and Juba. Hosted by r0g_agency for open culture in collaboration with the German Africa Foundation and Talk of Juba the event acted as an initial #DefyHateNow discussion on the role of social media in the current conflict.
This first #DefyHateNow program development workshop in Juba on April 25, 2015 is aimed to bring partners, correspondents, potential further stakeholders, community leaders, and experts working in South Sudan on issues of (social) media and conflict resolution together in an initial exchange on building the project’s strategic framework. It will discuss issues of social media literacy and verification (groudtruthing), community media interaction (including within UNMISS PoC sites), freedom of expression and means of fostering a ‘culture of peace’ with concrete practice examples, resources and the ways with which to implement social media based violence mitigation strategies.
Additionally, #DefyHateNow seeks to support and see those voices acting against the conflict go ‘viral’ both within and outside the country – also bringing the South Sudanese diaspora into the online peace building framework, bridging gaps of knowledge and awareness of social media mechanisms between those that have access to technology and those that do not.
The workshop is designed as an ‘off-the-record’ project development meeting with a small number of partners and colleagues. Although we will document the event for internal development of the project Chatham House Rules* of engagement will be adhered to