The Centre for Policy Alternatives, one of Sri-Lanka’s prominent research and advocacy group has released a report today on online hate speech, looking at Facebook in particular.
The report is said to be the first in the country to focus on hate and dangerous speech in online fora, “contextualising the growth of this disturbing digital content with increasing violence against Muslims and other groups in Sri Lanka.”
According to report authors Sanjana Hattotuwa and Shilpa Samaratunge, “the growth of online hate speech in Sri Lanka does not guarantee another pogrom. It does however pose a range of other challenges to government and governance around social, ethnic, cultural and religious co-existence, diversity and, ultimately, to the very core of debates around how we see and organise ourselves post-war.
Hattotuwa writes that, “the report looks at 20 Facebook groups in Sri Lanka over a couple of months, focussing on content generated just before, during and immediately after violence against the Muslim community. Detailed translations into English of the original material posted to these groups (including photographic and visual content) and the responses they generated are provided. It is the first time a study has translated into English the qualitative nature of commentary and content published on these Facebook groups, indicative of a larger and growing malaise in post-war Sri Lanka.”
Their study aims to focus on challenges around the significant growth of hate speech in post-war Sri Lanka, primarily directly against the Muslim community and Islam.
Download the full report here or read it below on Nasheman.