Protecting citizens in times of crisis – TOPIC 01 Sub 03 2023

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20 June 2023 | 12:30 - 13:15 EEST | Main auditorium | Video recording | Transcript
Consolidated programme 2023 overview / Main Topic 1

Proposals: #26 #50

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Session teaser

How to ensure effective protection against online harms, such as hate speech and dis-information in time of crisis and advance human rights and fundamental freedoms? You will discuss how to uphold international standards and extend on gained experiences and examples of practice.

Session description

The surge of hate speech and dis-information at the start of Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine raised multiple questions, including whether a different approach to moderating online hate speech should apply in times of conflict or access to platforms should be restricted all together. The Covid19 health crisis equally sparked waves of hate speech and disinformation against specific groups, to the point that the World Health Organisation announced that the pandemic was accompanied by an “infodemic”, constituting a serious risk to public health and public action.

Recommendation CM/Rec (2022)16 on Combating Hate Speech and other relevant standards provides guidance to member states and other relevant stakeholders including CSO’s and Internet intermediataries towards a comprehensive and properly calibrated set of legal and non-legal measures to prevent and combat online harms. Effectively implemented, the measures proposed can build social resilience against the treats in society. It also ensures key-stakeholders can quickly upscale efforts to fight online hate speech, disinformation and provide support those targeted. Cooperation among all relevant actors, including state authorities, internet platforms and CSOs, proves crucial in times of crisis, to ensure that human rights and democratic principles prevail.


Moderated open debate with the audience based on input from experts at the beginning of the session which will review international standards and practical examples how the challenges are being addressed by journalists, NGO’s and policy makers across Europe.

Further reading

Recommendation CM/Rec (2022)16 on combating hate speech and its Explanatory Memorandum

Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)4 on promoting a favourable environment for quality journalism

First Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems

Resources on the webpage "journalism in situations of conflict and aggression".

The Report: Information disorder - Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making (2017)

Guidance note on Best practices towards effective legal and procedural frameworks for self-regulatory and co-regulatory mechanisms of content moderation

Reports expected:

  • Final Report of the Regional Conference “Media in Times of War”, held in Georgia in 2022
  • Study on Hate Speech in times of crisis to be completed June 2023


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  • Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond
  • Tatiana Tropina
  • Yrjö Länsipuro

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  • Amali De Silva-Mitchell
  • Romy Mans
  • Vlad Ivanets

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Key Participants

  • Menno Ettema, Council of Europe
  • Maciej Gron, Cyberpolicy Advisor to the Director of NASK - the .pl top level domain registry
  • Jenny Matikainen, Finnish Journalist of YLE, Finnish Broadcasting Co.


  • Tatiana Tropina
  • Olivier Crépin-Leblond

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Reporters will be assigned by the EuroDIG secretariat in cooperation with the Geneva Internet Platform. The Reporter takes notes during the session and formulates 3 (max. 5) bullet points at the end of each session that:

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  • relate to the particular session and to European Internet governance policy
  • are forward looking and propose goals and activities that can be initiated after EuroDIG (recommendations)
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Rapporteur: Katarina Bojović, Geneva Internet Platform

  1. Promoting and upholding human rights, democracy, and the rule of law is and has always been the best defence against aggression and authoritarianism. To protect people in times of crisis, there must be proper procedures and approaches before the crisis breaks out. In addition, state institutions and other key stakeholders must be adequately prepared to combat hate speech and build resilience against disinformation.
  2. Journalism is vital in the situation of conflict or aggression. Therefore, it is crucial to acknowledge the role of journalists and provide them with protection, access to information, and adequate work conditions. Journalists must adhere to ethical standards of professionalism, a rule-based approach and respect for basic principles when reporting, especially in times of crisis. One should always get to the bottom of the information and adhere to basic values and principles when evaluating it.

Video record


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>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Welcome back, I hope you had a good break to freshen your minds a bit for the next subtopic, protecting citizens in times of crisis, I would like to invite the moderators on stage. Please, give them a warm welcome.

Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the third part of this discussion.

We talked in the morning about the technical neutrality of the Internet which as was highlighted by some of the speakers is not that neutral because we still have to tackle the issues of disinformation of propaganda. We spoke about amazing resilience of Ukrainian people who I believe deserve a huge applause for keeping infrastructure running, and I’m sorry, it was a bit of an emotional part for me. The question still remains, a broader question, how do we protect citizens in times of crisis. How do we ensure that we tackle the issues of disinformation, propaganda properly, that we’re balancing all of this with fundamental rights. How do we ensure that we enable investigative journalism, ensuring that taking down various types of content we can document war crimes and atrocities. And this session, it will be exactly about this topic. While we have speakers making presentations and remarks at the beginning, we would really like to make it an open discussion so egger you didn’t ask or comment on the first two parts, feel free to do it later in this session.

I will hand over to my co-moderator to introduce the panel.

>> OLIVIER MJ CREPIN-LEBLOND: Thank you very much. I have to correct you, it is not good morning, it is good afternoon already, yes. It is after 12:00.

>> Time flies.

>> OLIVIER MJ CREPIN-LEBLOND: Time flies, goes quickly and time will fly in this session, it will be very interactive, we have three speakers, two of them have presentations, we’ll start with the Council of Europe, Menno Ettema, and that’s the title of this session, protecting citizens in times of crisis, then we’ll have a signer policy Director to the Polish pop level domain registry, NASK and we’ll continue with a comment from a journalist from YLE, the Finnish broadcasting company.

Without further ado, let me invite our first speaker, Menno Ettema, from the Council of Europe to do the presentation. We have about 10 minutes for this, 10, 15 minutes or so, then we’ll have the second presentation, third person comments and then we’ll open the floor and we’ll even throw this wonderful thing around for you to be able to speak. There is no hide I had hid in this room, vulnerability this mic close to you at some point. thank you. Over to you.

>> MENNO ETTEMA: Thank you very much.

Thank you for the introduction. It is actually an honor to be here, to speak in this list of sessions which I think tackles a very important issue. The war in Ukraine has shown very clearly the importance of access to information for the population as discussed in previous sessions, access and resilience to secure access. I want to put it in a borderless context, this is a known phenomenon, since 2015, NGO access now has been keeping track of the Internet shutdowns worldwide and the coalition of NGOs has argued that such shut downs have a massive impact on the work of journalists, transparency, democratic oversight of the construct of law enforcement, military and the processes of elections, for example, and it has even exaggerated the damages brought by natural disasters. So the phenomena of lack of access to information is well documented.

I want to extend here to another phenomena, the war of narratives, not only about access but you see the weaponization of information as disinformation and hate speech is being used as a tool of war and a weapon of destruction. While the respect for our Freedom of Expression and other Human Rights is undermined. During the Council of Europe regional seminar conference on media in times of war in October of 2022 the Chair of the TV and Radiobroadcasting Council of Ukraine described at length how the Russian disinformation campaigns aim to spread panic among Ukrainians. It goes beyond the borders of Ukraine and Russian Federation, it influences public opinion about the war across Europe and globally.

I want to call to your comments that the racist narratives that stated racist narratives to justify the Russian Federations wharf aggression against Ukraine that denied the sovereignty of Ukraine, the civil identity and Ukrainian culture have been spread and jeopardizing the democratic stability throughout Europe. The UN special advisory on prevention ever genocide cited genocide rhetoric that refer to Ukraine as a fake nation that does not deserve to exist.

I also want to cite here the 2022 annual report of the European Commission against racism intolerance in the monitoring body of the Council of Europe which states that it should be underlined that the Russian leaders false narratives from the highest political level despite being democratically elected, the Ukraine government and Ukrainians that did not consider themselves pro-Russian as neo-Nazis, this is observed, nauseating and an affront to the memory of millions of victims of Nazism and we should not forget that as well. The Council of Europe on hate speech in times of crisis is forthcoming and will be published in September, I apologize we didn’t manage it earlier. It is coming and we’ll have it on the EuroDIG Wiki when available, it mapped key hashtags with these narratives on Ukraine and the war.

The graphic shown on the screen shows the peaks of tweets – using happy valley-goose bay as of nazi, Zelensky war criminal and Ukraine nazi, before the war started and throughout the war. You see some peaks overlapping with these three hashtags, other hashtags were explored but I these I wanted to show. They’re basically overlapping with key major events in the war, the first days of the invasion when the massacre was discovered, the biggest barrage of strikes in Ukraine in October and the missile hitting in Poland for example. You see the relation in the actually events of the war development and the hate campaigns online.

A deep analysis shows that the tweets are from beyond the Russian Federation, they originate from Twitter accounts in Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands among many others.

Many of the tweets emerge if they come from the countries, they also merge with other narratives targeting or criticizing Ukraine refugees as taking up housing or jobs.

Different discriminatory narratives, hate narratives merge as you can see.

Many of the tweets analyzed also contained links to other platforms and trying to direct the viewer to other less regulated spaces, in particular, tell grabbing and a Russian website. Hence I would say that the wharf narratives seems to be European wide challenge and hate speech and dis information goes hand in hand. It is moving from fringe platforms to the mainstream.

What to do? It is about protecting people by increasing resilience. In the same study on combating hate in times of crisis, people were interviewed, state authorities, civil right partners, Human Rights institutions and Internet platforms among others and we tried to learn lessons from not only the war on Ukraine but crisis, like COVID pandemic and terrorist attacks in various countries. We conclude from the interviews that we had that what is really needed is a very clear legal framework that provides public authorities, law enforcement, media sector, and also Internet providers all relevant stakeholders in short with a very comprehensive, collaborated approach, and very clear specific criteria for evaluating, moderating, prosecuting incidents of hate speech and also in particularly times of crisis. This is the balancing of Human Rights and Human Rights considerations that’s so important and has to be really well embedded in a legal framework.

Especially times of crisis, we have to fall back on the standard and implement it.

In addition, law enforcement, the need to be – needs to be clear law enforcement in place to be prepared for the management of hate speech and disinformation. This includes we need to – this includes supporting or creating specialized units in the police and prosecutor services to investigate and prosecute the use of online hate speech that reaches the criminal threshold, and it is about the analyzing of data from social media platforms, and to be able to analyze the intertwining between hate narratives spreading through nepharious accounts, between different accounts and to be able to track that.

It is a consistently monitoring activity based on the most advanced approaches to retrieve and analyze huge datasets. The volume is a challenge, plus also the travel between different platforms.

In this regard, another key finding is that the multistakeholder coalition is very much needed. This provides for efficiency when new challenges emerge and new understandings of the phenomena needs to be developed. It is the narratives, the counter narrative, hate narratives that are constantly involved and we have to follow that and understand how to evolve. The role of Civil Society organizations in that regard is very important. They cannot compensate for the institutional interventions, looking at hate speech and supporting those targeted by it and they’re well placed to identify new trends and new narratives that are out there.

Hence we need to really acknowledge the role of Civil Society actors and to bring them on board in a dialogue on how to address this and provide them this set of resources and acknowledgment.

Of course, public awareness information campaigns is a priority in the times of crisis as they are essential actors to inform, but also to counter negative stereotype, bias, disinformation, it is a combination of information that needs to be provided. The role of media broadcasting companies and news outlets is very clear, they are key actors to combat hate speech and disinformation and advocate for Human Rights, particularly in times of crisis.

I want to underline here that many of the points identified by our key stakeholders interviewed aligned with existing Council of Europe standards and other international standards. I would like to take this platform to direct you to the recommendation that was adopted last year in combating hate speech, specifically outlining what can be done and what should be in place in all of these different sectors, issues that I addressed.

Another point I wanted to make is the importance of journalism in situations of conflict and aggression. The Council of Europe provided a document outlining key principles that should be put in place, responsibility of Member States, responsibility of journalists, responsibility of media organizations and Civil Society. It is very much about acknowledging the role of journalists, providing them protection, giving them access to information, giving – enabling them to work but also for journalists to adhere to ethical standards of professionalism and for all Civil Society to support their work.

The outlines of the journalism situation of conflict, aggression, it is on the euro Wiki, I encourage you to read in detail all of the international standards that apply in the Human Rights considerations.

I will conclude to referring to a part of the declaration of the Council of Europe Summit, it brought together Heads of State and governments from the Council of Europe which you can see online. I think that the point here, many takeaways from the conferences we had in the past year regarding the crisis is that we need to have in place proper standards and proper approaches before the crisis breaks out.

We need to have state institutions and other key stakeholders need to be properly prepared to combat hate speech and build resilience against disinformation. Promoting and delivering Human Rights, democracy and the rule of law is and always has been the best defense against aggression and authoritarianism. Thank you.

>> OLIVIER MJ CREPIN-LEBLOND: Thank you very much. Take whatever seat you wish to take.

We’ll continue with our next speaker, he’s with NASK, the Domain Register Advisor on Cybersecurity. We’re preparing the file so to show the presentation, it is a shorter presentation than the previous one. And as I said, we’ll have questions being asked at the end.

Please start preparing your questions and comments as well. I always hear, you know, do you have any questions, do you have any comments as well, it is your word as well, this is a dialogue.

Over to you.

>> MACIEJ GRON: Thank you very much. Thank you for the introduction. This is a big challenge, crisis, protecting citizens.

Especially when you want to protect somebody, you want to do something, the most important thing, it is to have the right tools to do the right job. I’m not an engineer but I’m quite sure that is true. The question is do we have the right tools? Do we have the right obligation, institution responsibilities, transparency, accountability, and last but not least, fines? I think it is not last but, it is also very important.

The answer is that today we in the E.U., we have the directive, which is from the previous century and has liaison statement – was designed quarter of a century ago, and this young man on the screen, a boy, he’s in a primary school, let’s call him Mark, he’s – he doesn’t have such a nice smile anymore. He’s quite powerful and he has a big company maybe in Palo Alto and a computer nearby, it is probably his first computer when he was first PCing. And we have noticed the regulation and that’s today, and that is 25 years ago, even more, it was obvious that regulations were needed because to make it possible to flourish, the new companies, the IT companies, and to make Internet as much popular as is possible, and I think that this mission was completed.

I think that we have missed something and today our world is very different, even you know ten years the world was different, in the early ’90s, in the late ’90s.

It is very difficult to say something and the old Chinese proverb say it is you don’t know what to say, just say the Chinese proverb. I have found one, so the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the next time is now.

So I think that’s not so bad because we have, you know, the tsunami of legislation from the E.U. I really don’t like this name, because it refers only to the strengths, but I think that the goals are also very important and we have the new rules, which for me, it means also the new tools, we have DSA, Digital Services Act, we have Digital Market Act, we have data act, we have Data Governance Act, we have AI act, we have CSAM regulation, we have an NIS2 and I’m sure you can add many more acronyms that will be in the future. For us, today, today, tomorrow, the next day, we have the biggest challenge to implement this regulation as good as possible because always the first regulation, the first implementation is more – it is very difficult to change after years the procedures.

Not only the legislation is important, legislation – we also need smart people. That’s why we – I’m talking on behalf of E.U., I’m not working with the European Commission, but I feel, you know, the part of this process. On even the IGF level we’re – we have a call of action, building a hub for effective cybersecurity skills with IGF.

Also we are very much involved in safer Internet and also we have been staid special vaccine for the department, that’s new, and we have the new ISOC for this. I can only – my time is almost finished – my time is almost finished. The proverb, the best time to plant a tree, was 20 years ago, the next best time is now, I ask for you would be operation with the EuroDIG level, IGF level, I’m sure we’re able to change the world, regulation, and thank you very much.

>> OLIVIER MJ CREPIN-LEBLOND: A lot of regulation coming up, I hope we have a number of smart people versus the list of acronyms there. The third person intervening in this session, we have Finnish broadcasting company. Please come up on stage – you’re lear – I thought – okay, fine. Tunnel vision. I don’t know. It is a sign I’m getting old. If you wish, if you wish to have a handheld mic or something, you can go ahead.

You will comment on everything you have heard so far and more.

>> Yeah. I have some comments, from what I heard, thank you for the interesting presentations, to some comments from the point of view of journalism. Just a bit of my background, I work as a foreign correspondent, I used to work in China before but since the being back in Finland and working in Ukraine during the full scale invasion, I don’t know, four, five times, I can’t even keep the count anymore, but I guess the topic was about protecting people and I guess journalism is one of the main way to protect people. It gives voice to people and also keeps people on the other end informed about what’s going on.

I think this war, this Russian invasion, it has been – these days, there is so much information available, it makes the work for journalists both very easy and also extremely difficult because not only you can make stories when you go to Ukraine, but you can also make stories from the desk because you have access to footage, you have access to stories. It is also making it very difficult because those stories for a journalist point of view, they’re always very luring, you want to tell the story, you see interesting pictures that you wish to publish, and as we heard already, journalism is also about rules and we always need to remember do we know, this is even close to the truth, anyone else say the same thing? I often get asked why is this story all over the Internet but it is not on wireless website? There is one good answer, that we can’t publish anything, we always need to know where is the information from, has anyone been double-checked saying the same thing? My other notion comes from my trips to Ukraine. I have been working in very many countries, in different kind of crisis situations and I have to say I was very surprised when I went to Ukraine for the first time. It was quite soon after they were liberated, I thought we would go, ask questions about how some lost everything, we go with cameras, asking question, how are you, what’s going on, what happened? I thought they were like – go away, we don’t want to share our sadness, we don’t want to hair our tragedy, but I was so surprised about everybody being so welcome, wanting to tell their stories, taking our hands, trying to see the houses, and I just kind of – it struck me. It was my first time in Ukraine even in peacetimes that people in Ukraine, they do understand the power of journalism, they want to share their stories because they know what journalism can do, it can share the information to people in Finland, people in different countries, people all over the world.

The last point, it is are rather – I can’t say unpopular, but I have noticed that since this war in Ukraine, for us Europeans, probably everyone in this room today, it is very black and white. We know who is attacking, we know who has been attacked. Us journalists, we need to keep asking those questions for the both sides, we can’t even take the Ukrainian, the pro Ukrainian narrative as such. We have to ask where is this information from, we have to double-check, we have to get the bottom of the information. Asking questions is the best way to protect democracy and to keep standing with others.

Thank you.

>> OLIVIER MJ CREPIN-LEBLNAD: I will give this mic over to you now.

We’ll go from the stage to you, if you have a question or comments, please raise your hand, we’ll collect them in batches I think, two, three, four, then give the speakers the opportunity to address anything you asked. Let me just go downstairs because I can’t see hands from there.

Anyone who wants the microphone? Here.

>> How would you feel about making some kind of a legal allowance for delousing Russia? Attacking them over the networks, like, you know, in the case of ICANN, like the technical layer that we don’t really want to mess with. Maybe we disrupt the communications by other means. Currently, for example in Finland, the law does not allow that to anyone, but maybe some exceptions could be made. How do you feel about that.

>> Hello. Martin here. My remark particularly for the journalist, journalism is so important now adays, and as a journalist, you’re also a human being, so difficult not to take sides. How do you deal with that? The remark that I have been very impressed with by the presentation, actually checking stories, giving extra confidence to citizens that what they see is true.

How do you deal with that is the question.

>> I represent YOUthDIG here. My question may be specific but I think it is important to address, it is always after the invasion to Ukraine, a lot of people speak in Russian has faced discrimination and it is important to understand I think that ration language is understood in many countries and shouldn’t be associated with the Russian reputation as it is.

For the journalism, you have the Russian version of the website, how do you consider this situation if it is needed to still broadcast news in the Russian language and also from the perspective of the Council of Europe, what is the stand in regards to the Russian language nowadays on the international level and how the politics should move in this direction.

Thank you.

>> Thank you very much for the questions. Olivier, back to the panel to ask who wants to speak first.


>> A couple of questions considering journalism, sorry, it is hard to hear here. First, I guess it was about how to be objective, not picking sides, and I have to say, I now speak from only my personal point of view as a journalist, not for our company, the whole system, but I guess this is the situation where you kind of – I take it always back in a way to the basic values, that there is some bottom-line that you should not cross, if we’re a public broadcaster, which is working on a tax payers money, it goes back to the democracy, it goes back to the Human Rights and the right to be informed. There is this bottom that you don’t go under.

In a way, when you think what you are – well, a role, it is to – it is to let both sides to be heard, but, of course, if there is somebody obviously lying, you can – you need to put that in the context, you can’t let – it is also answering the next question, that, of course, we have been thinking about a l how will we publish like Putin’s speeches? We need – the Finnish audience needs to be aware what they’re saying but always put it in the context. I guess that’s a dialogue in our heads, our office every day. There is no simple answer to that.

>> I’ll take up challenging questions asked, maybe around the DOS attacks, in times of crisis, it is very important to keep international standards, rule-base the approach and respecting of the basic principles. For example, in the Internet wherein previous discussions we discussed about, how do we interact between the humans and the communities. While it is very tempting to use certain tactics because the other side is using it, the question always is, what’s the consequences and what’s that say of us trying to uphold an international legal framework that serves to provide everyone access and everybody enjoyment of Human Rights and democracy and the rule of law. I know it is not necessary always the case, or always working, if that’s what we have, what’s the responsibility to commit to doing that ourselves specifically from state agencies I would say.

This is an area for much more discussion. I just want to Zoom in on the last question on Russian language, use of Russian language and Russian speaking minority groups. This is a concern for the Council of Europe that’s been followed for a long time, well before the wharf aggression started. For example, the framework, Convention on national minorities issued several country monitoring reports and is also the language charter for regional minority languages that’s following the consequences.

I think there is sincere concern about instruments, illustration of language, of minorities, and of minority groups, for the national politics and nationalistic politics.

There is questions about the importance of access to information in minority languages and we have seen now Russian language news, platforms being closed down, while there are legitimate reasons for that, because of the information that they’re spreading, not good journalism standards, et cetera, the question raises the communities that benefited from language in Russian language, what information do they have now, are we providing necessary information in the national minority languages to make sure that everybody in the national – in the community, in the society, has proper information to make informed decisions.

I think that the importance of respecting minority languages is very important because it is part of promoting Human Rights and promoting understanding of the situation to actually mobilize them to support Human Rights standards and democratic societies.

>> While you have the mic, you had a slide in the presentation focused on hate, isn’t that free speech?

>> This is a classical question where the Freedom of Expression, The Rights to Assembly ends and hate speech starts. I think that the recommendation that I mentioned on combating hate speech adopted last year gives a very broad understanding of what hate speech is and delineates what is liable in the civil, criminal, administrative law or other harmful expresses. I recommend that you read it. I think it is very clear that at some point free come of expression is not an unlimited right, there is very clear moments when it should be and can be restricted and it can be criminal liability consequences if you use it, we also need to protect the Rights of those targeted and it is a balancing act. The question is how do you make the balancing act? We need education, training, awareness to make informed decisions on how to balance the right to express grievances and opinions we don’t always share and when we find people grieving, that crosses the line to artfully tackle, undermine the Human Rights and dignity of others, that’s just not acceptable.

The balancing act, it is something that the journalist needs to learn, something that the courts need to apply and actually every citizen needs to be able to do that to make an informed decision on what I should share, what shouldn’t I share, how do I not get on the Internet.

>> Thank you. Your feedback on the questions and comments that were expressed a moment ago.

I can only add, you know – we cannot give another simple answer on a simple question. We have to be flexible, the rules are not so clear. Rules can be clear and should be clear, but the situation is very difficult and they’re changing all the time.

We have to be open for flexibility and have future proof regulation and you called them balancing regulation, they should also be flexible, and we always should be ready for judging, you know, the situation.

I think that from the GDPR, we have very much the so-called risk-based approach and we always have to bear in mind where we are and even the same situation for the first look and not necessarily the same, so it is not that easy.

>> While we collect more questions and comments from the participants, I have one more question for you, you have come up with an impressive array of acronyms, ICANN would be proud of you, they love acronyms. So many acronyms on laws, regulation, things that are currently being put in effect. What in your words, in your view, are the most significant changes that we’re likely to see? This as a response, as a tweeted response, you know, maybe three most important things that we need to think about.

>> There is three minutes or three hours for the answer?

>> You don’t have 3 minutes, you have 30 seconds!

>> Not even in three hours.


>> I think it is very important, the new definitions, which are, you know, sounds very simple, like we have, you know, the definition on the search engines, Internet platforms, we have also the contact with high speeds and what would be very, very important, we have the so-called digital services regulator, coordinator, and find maybe that we make the regulation efficient, because now they’re not efficient and what is most important, we have the one regulation for the whole EU and that will be challenging for the companies, not from the E.U.

>> More hands? More comments? Anything? If I don’t see any hand right now, I might use my moderator super power and ask you a question.

We know already from the case of war in Syria, other wars, that when you put the pressure on the platforms to remove certain types of con he tent they also remove content related to war crimes, documented war crimes by victims and sometimes by perpetrators and aggressors. Do you have an answer to how to ensure that this content is not taken down, that it is preserved? Once perpetrator have to face the justice? Do I see any more hands?

>> Sorry. I don’t want to monopolize the discussion but since no one also is making the question, it is an important one, how do you draw the line between disinformation, hate speech and freedom of opinion? I think that’s a hard part.

Sometimes the strategy of having a broad definition of hate speech, it is counterproductive because there are people who voice – I mean, the – they’re treated as – people say why should we let them speak, making them a victim, then they get portfolios and the views are heard even more. I think this is really the question wrinkles do you draw the line.

>> One more question, if no – I suggest that we go back to the speakers. If each of them, they have only one minute, we don’t have much time left.

Who wants to start?

>> Maybe I start to finish, referring to the last question maybe first, this drawing the line, the recommendation takes a broad definition of hate speech for a purpose. Limiting hate speech to only that which is criminalized misses the point, that there are huge groups that are targeted which not necessarily is illegal, it may be lawful, but it is still awful.

Even if it is lawful speech, it doesn’t mean we can’t take action. We can provide support to the victims, stand with them, acknowledge their participation in society, that they’re a member of society, that what’s being said, which basically denies their rights, it is not acceptable. So there are many other steps that can be taken against expressions that may be lawful but yet very awful.

When it comes to hate speech that’s criminalized, it should be very clearly regulated and very much embedded into international standards. If you look at paragraph 11 of the Annex of the recommendation it clearly specifies how it connects to international Convention on genocide, the war crime Convention, so it is not tread lightly to say something is criminalized, it is clearly outlined what is cut out of hate speech shoulder falling under criminal liability. So this balancing act is important and we should guard for states from treading too lightly when it comes to the legal framework on hate speech. This is very important. That’s why democracy, rule of law, Human Rights always must come together, we have to protect this as a threesome.

About the information, how to preserve information regarding war crimes and take down, this is a very important question about how do you cooperate with platforms and how the corporation, how the corporation is organized between prosecuting service, platforms and the general good because civil content can be very harmful, illegal, should be taken down as soon as possible with a huge target on those that are targeted and the wider community. It does not takeaway responsibilities to preserve evidence and information and this is where a very clear system needs to be in place where prosecuting officers make quick decisions to maintain, retain information that’s no longer accessible, et cetera. This is cyberbullying that we need to think about ahead of a crisis and not during a crisis. We need to have a very clear legal framework which organizes how companies, states, other key actors, researcher, NGO society, they do a lot of documentations for war crimes for example, how do they all interact with each other? They should be thought through before the crisis so that we can fall back on the very clear legal standards which are embedded in Human Rights law and actually proactively address the issues that are being faced. Afterwards we can always learn and improve. In a crisis, we need to act but we need to act within the law and within the Human Rights understanding.

>> Do you want to have the next one?

>> Yes.

>> If you have anything to add.

>> A quick comment on the war crimes: Journalists are often the first ones on the sites and I just want to mention like the footage, the picture, we gather, they can also make an input and another notion about hate speech, that’s also a threat to journalism, I want to say that to kind of – to help journalists to stand strong and able to do their job, it is a message to the lawmakers that we need also to be depended.

>> Thank you very much. Do you want to have the last word? I think – I think we have time, right?

>> Well, the lights haven’t gone red yet. I just wanted to mention that we also monitor what’s going on online. I believe there is no comments or questions at the moment, are there?

>> Nothing.

>> Okay.

>> We can safely go to the speaker.

>> I think you know regulation, like the standards, we can divide on the bad and very bad, usually no one is fully happy or satisfied. We have to accept it and go ahead.

>> I will use my super power to extend for one minute? I saw a hand from Patrick there, if this is important, I can give you the microphone?

>> No one can fight your super power, you know that. Go ahead.

>> Thank you. That’s very kind. I wanted to complement on what was being said, it is, of course, the cybercrime, additional protocol on electronic evidence, and I think it is important to note that there are some standards available. The second thing, it is on the question of Russia, the Council of Europe has taken a decision which it has never taken in the past, that is to work with the government in opposition, in the government in compile of Belarus and we continue to work with the Government of Compile of Belarus and – of exile of Belarus and we decided to actively work with Civil Society in exile of both Russia and Belarus.

>> Thank you, Patrick.

>> I just would like to comment, it is really important to have journalism help raise our voices, but we just now at the previous sessions had participation of so-called organizations and all of them, they have representatives or citizens ever end users, but the approach of such organizations, it is very different, and it is very important to hear our voices, and please do that.

>> Thank you very much. I must admit that I’m very happy we heard your voices in addition to the voices of our speakers.

I see you standing there looking at me. We have to wrap up.

Give yourself and speakers, speakers the huge applause. Thank you so much.

>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Then thanks to the speakers and to the moderators for the wonderful moderation of this session.

So now we conclude main topic one, and we really are pleased to see the amount of engagement we had on these issues and I certainly do not believe this is going to be the end of the discussion. I encourage you to do look at the EuroDIG messages being drafted from the DiploFoundation tomorrow at the ending ceremony, you will look at the messages and make comments on whether or not there is a rough consensus on the development of the discussions we’re having today. I do encourage you to come and join us then.

For the next session, we’ll start again at 2:30.

The next main topic will be Internet fragmentation. We hope that you will join us.