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    Posted May 24, 2014 by
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    Let's stop hate online! New campaign called "I don't masturhate" is launched

     
    The internet is becoming more and more flooded with displays of hate bothering everyone who wants to go online, whether it be for entertainment, to seek information, or to work, and such hatred has a dangerous influence on children and youth. Now the ROMEA NGO is bringing to the Czech Republic an international campaign called "I don't masturhate", the aim of which is to create a friendly, tolerant online environment and eliminate hate on the internet.
    "With the aid of this campaign, we want to activate internet users who encounter hate to ridicule and reject it by labeling it with #MASTURHATE. Through this apt and simple label, they can help identify haters. The posts from various online discussions that are identified as hate will also be displayed on the campaign's website, www.idontmasturhate.com," explains Zdeněk Ryšavý, director of ROMEA o.p.s.
    "It cannot be said that hate online is just a fringe phenomenon. On the contrary, various forms of hate appear there daily. Moreover, very often it is not possible to avoid these people, they manage to reach others who would ordinarily refuse to have anything to do with them on principle," says lawyer and political scientist Štěpán Výborný in a study entitled "Freedom of Speech vs. Displays of Hate Online" (Svoboda slova versus nenávistné projevy na internetu), the only Czech expert study that exists on this topic.
    "The internet has been used not only by members of radical subcultures who can propagate their ideas at significantly less of a cost to themselves through it," says Výborný, "but also by persons who only feel hatred toward a certain minority, which in the Czech Republic is typically toward Romani people. The notion of impunity and total license (without realizing that this is still a social interaction) that is inextricably linked to anonymity has led to a massive dissemination of hateful statements wherever the internet facilitates it - in commentaries about news items, when communicating information through social networks (Facebook, YouTube), when sending mass e-mail messages, etc. Hatred has de facto become a regular component of the discussion of the issue of minorities here, despite the fact that most preachers of hatred would never utter such words during a public discussion because of shame or fear of social opprobrium."
    Not everyone is fully aware of the consequences of their hateful behavior, but young people between the ages of 16-25 are at great risk of being influenced or tempted by it, and that age group is the primary target group of the campaign. The actress Barbora Hrzánová has sent the following message to young people through a video posted to www.idontmasturhate.com: "I know from experience that an idea travels faster than a jet, that spoken ideas can do great harm, and that words can even kill, so when you go onto a social networking site, be very careful what you write, what you comment on and how, because you could do enormous damage. Be cautious, don't hate! Thanks."
    The actor Václav Neužil also supported the campaign by filming the following message: " 'Down with the gypsies! Signed, Anonymous' 'Dude he makes me want to throw up! Signed: godzila' These are just a few examples of hate from online discussions, even though to use the concept of 'discussion' in this context is imprecise to say the least. These are cesspools of negative energy. People, don't do this, every act of hatred ultimately rebounds against you and, as we know, negative energy leads only to diseases, tumors and ulcers. I don't want to hate the haters, just to offer them a certain exchange: Instead of hatred, insults and threats - love, maturity and openness."
    The campaign is also welcomed by PhDr. Štefan Matula, PhD. of the Research Institute for Child Psychology and Psychopathology (Výskumný ústav detskej psychológie a patopsychológie) in Slovakia: "Behind almost every incident of online hatred there is real hate, a deep, intensive emotion expressing animosity, bias and rejection of another person, group of people, or even inanimate objects in our surroundings. This is connected with the need to cause pain, to do damage. On the other hand, usually when we hate someone, what we hate in them is something that is also a part of us. The campaign now beginning is a great opportunity to provide the people who are compensating for their hatred in this way with some feedback so they can understand these deeper connections."
    "The word MASTURHATE was creating by changing one letter," explains Michal Moravec, one of the two authors of the original project entered into the Cannes Young Lions Competition 13 PR contest, "we were looking for words similar to hate and we discovered 'masturhate'. It completely fits what we are trying to say."
    Michal Hornický, a co-author of the project, says: "For me, a hater is a person who blindly comments on everything going on around him that doesn't correspond to his own convictions and values in a negative way that is not constructive." #MASTURHATE is an international campaign of the Slovak branch of the Open Society Foundations – Nadácie otvorenej spoločnosti, in collaboration with ROMEA o.p.s. (Czech Republic), Prospect Hungary (Prospect Műhely Alapítvány), M-MEDIA Diversity Mediawatch (Austria) and the Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci (Italy).
    You will find more information on www.idontmasturhate.com. Join us and create a friendlier, hate-free online environment.

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