Inoculating audiences against incitement, through Vioja Mahakamani
Some of Kenya's most widely recognized media stars are the cast members of Vioja Mahakamani, a hit comedic courtroom drama. We worked with the Kenya Broadcast Corporation (KBC) and Media Focus on Africa to create four episodes on the topic of Dangerous Speech, which aired nationwide, and was subsequently used by conflict-prevention organizations on the ground in Kenya. This initiative, principally funded by the Fetzer Institute, was centered on instilling love and forgiveness in the minds and hearts of viewers.
From these programs, we hope to develop a model that can be used in other countries where ethnic hatred is growing, and there is increased risk of violence.
Monitoring and Evaluating Inflammatory Speech in Kenya
The Dangerous Speech framework is being used for Umati, a pathbreaking project to monitor the Kenyan online world for hate speech and then evaluate the dangerousness (capacity to spur violence) of each example the monitors find. The project began in September 2012 and has collected - unfortunately - a large archive. Alarmed by the number and virulence of examples, the Umati team worked quickly in early 2013 to design and implement methods to counter Dangerous Speech. Umati convened influential bloggers and other online thought leaders, to draw their attention to the problem of hate speech online, and to ask them to resolve not to use or tolerate it. Because false rumors are a common and pernicious form of dangerous speech, we also worked with Umati on an initiative called "Nipe Ukweli" - "gimme truth" - for Kenyans to refute falsehoods. As a new web page and hashtag, Nipe Ukweli served as a counterweight to dangerous speech during the election.
Susan Benesch reviews efforts to counter hateful speech online in the Berkman Center for Internet and Society's report Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World.
With Michael Abramowitz. Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2013.
The Center for Global Communication Studies at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication conducted an evaluation of the Vioja Mahakamani media intervention, a partnership between the Dangerous Speech Project and Media Focus on Africa.
This report by iHub Research presents the work of iHub Research's Umati Project, the world's first systematic effort to monitor Dangerous Speech,
A blogger has pleaded guilty to charges of hate speech and undermining authority for a Facebook post in which he criticised Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The BBC reported this morning that Kenyan police have discovered pamphlets of inflammatory speech in the cities of Kisumu and Mombasa, similar to "hate leaflets" that were circulated prior to the electoral violence of 2007.
The New York Times featured a story on the front page of its website today highlighting the ongoing violence in Kenya and its connection to the upcoming elections.