Federal support for study to combat online hate speech and radicalization
September 21, 2018
Public Safety Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to combatting intolerance and extremism by working with community partners who are studying online hate speech and its connection to radicalization to violence.
Today, Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament for Nepean, on behalf of the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced $107,146 over two years from the Community Resilience Fund to support MediaSmarts in studying how young Canadians respond to online hate speech, which when normalized can be a risk factor for radicalization to violence.
MediaSmarts focuses on increasing critical thinking skills among children and youth through digital and media literacy programs. Its project Pushing Back Against Hate in Online Communities will examine the attitudes of young Canadians toward online hate speech in order to determine the factors that influence whether they speak out against what they see online. Findings will be used to inform policy and develop programs by governments and Internet service providers to promote a norm of speaking out against hate speech which can help protect against violent extremism.
The Community Resilience Fund supports efforts of the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence to deliver on Public Safety Canada’s commitment to prevent radicalization to violence.
“Online extremist and hateful content can lead young Canadians down a dangerous road towards radicalization to violence. That is why it is crucial we collaborate with sectors and communities, including youth, to effectively combat this phenomenon. MediaSmarts’ project will help us ensure young Canadians have the resilience to deal with negative content found on the Internet in order to prevent the promotion of racism and violence.”
- Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament for Nepean
“Canadian youth say it is important to speak up against hate content online, but often feel reluctant to do so. This funding will enable MediaSmarts to identify the reason for this reluctance, as well as ways to encourage and empower youth to speak out against hate. This research will result in much needed tools and resources for countering online radicalization among youth. ”
- Kathryn Ann Hill, Executive Director, MediaSmarts
The MediaSmarts study will be conducted in the form of a national survey of up to 1000 youth in grades 9 and 10.
The results of the survey will be made public as part of the project’s final report, which will be published on MediaSmarts’ website.
MediaSmarts is a member of Facebook's and Twitter's international safety councils, which provide advice on new tools.
The Canada Centre provides funding to organizations that work to counter radicalization to violence in Canada through the Community Resilience Fund. Projects under the Community Resilience Fund will improve Canada’s ability to address violent radicalization at the local level by supporting intervention research and programming, information sharing, and outreach activities.
The Community Resilience Fund had $2.4 million in funds for existing and new projects in 2017-2018 and $4.4 million in 2018-19. For 2019-20 and beyond, this fund will have $7 million available each year for existing and new projects.
Senior Advisor for Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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