EU to Fight Radicalization: Online Hate Speech and Propaganda in Focus

Written by | Friday, June 17th, 2016

The European Union presented a series of measures to help Member States in their efforts to prevent and tackle radicalization that leads to terrorism and violent extremism. The proposal includes boosting research to better understand the sources and roots of this increasingly worrying phenomenon, supporting educational programs to prevent the manifestation of radicalization, and tackling hate speech on the Internet. The EU is also seeking to strengthen cooperation with third countries facing similar challenges.

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said that the recent attacks in Orlando and in France are a reminder for Europeans that terrorism is global but also “extremely local”, affecting communities and individuals around us. “The majority of the perpetrators are our own citizens, born and raised on our territory, educated in our schools, now radicalized and turning against their own fellow citizens, their neighbors, and in some cases their friends. Turning against our values, giving in to propaganda of hate inspired by an ideology of catastrophe,” he said. Brussels estimates that there are about 4,000 EU nationals that have joined terrorist organizations to fight in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

The EU has therefore strengthened its security, border, and migration databases and reinforced information sharing. The new measures are particularly designed to counter terrorist propaganda and hate speech on the Internet via cooperation with the tech industry, aiming to stop the spread of illegal content of hatred and violence. They also address radicalization in prisons, promote inclusive education and EU common values as well as an open and resilient society. The EU also seeks to boost international cooperation, support research and monitoring as well as focus on the security dimension of the prevention of radicalization, such as travel prohibitions and the criminalization of travelling to third countries for terrorist purposes.

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