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OPENMIC X SPEAK! X CIVICUS

Being Kind Online: Youth in Digital Spaces

OpenMic Pakistan has been selected as the SPEAK! Champion 2019 for Global Action Day Campaign of CivicUs, a global alliance of civic organizations.

BEING KIND ONLINE: YOUTH IN DIGITAL SPACES

The growing trend of internet among masses which provides a whole new space to interact with each other comes with an increased risk of the vulnerability of the users. The concept of freedom of speech is being continuously violated to achieve public popularity. Most of the audience on social networking websites is attracted to controversial statements by leaders, trolling of famous personalities, gossip of celebrities and entertainment material. Since access to the internet is not biased towards any level of mentality, we often see people with extreme narratives getting popular and attracting masses. This makes recruiting people for extremist agendas easier. Political parties specifically hire young social media managers with huge followings who handle their social media accounts, usually seen to be spreading extremist narratives against their rival parties. Also, young vloggers and bloggers sometimes make racist, misogynist, misandrist or hateful remarks against minorities or sometimes even each other. People who see them as inspiration or role models blindly follow their ideologies and get into meaningless debates that lead to harassment. With all these existential problems with the online space, our SPEAK! the event will focus on discussing these issues while shedding light on the:

- Tendency of youth to sympathize with extremist agenda;
- Transition of online hate speech into physical violence;
- Electronic violence against young women;
- Distinction between playful banter and trolling;
- Safe digital spaces with decreased cyber-bullying.