This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).
This specific project will be implemented by the selected implementation partner (Media Diversity Institute Western Balkans). The objective of this project is to equip young people in the capital area with tools to identify, expose and combat hate speech. Sixteen youth activists, up to 25 years of age, will receive expert training on the topic, and themselves be trained as trainers. The 16 activists will then further engage with 200 local high school students, providing training of their own based on a collectively developed manual, that is at its core youth accessible and relevant. A social media campaign on the training and manual will reach out to 10,000 people, and is intended to provide a space for discussions and debate. Hate speech both reflects the levels of intolerance and extremism in a community, and if unaddressed can normalize it. In such an environment of progressive extremism, even more violent and radical forms of extremism are more likely to emerge.