By Annie Babelle Odounlami
The head of the permanent Divisional delegation of the CPDM Central Committee for Mvila, Minette Libom Li Likeng, has urged all militants to be apostles of peace and not promoters of hate speech online that leads to community stigmatisation.
She made the call Friday, July 14, during the seminar-workshop for CPDM leaders in the Mvila Division held under the theme, “CPDM activists, against hate speech, apostles of peace, and actors of living together for an emerging Cameroon”. It took place at Ebolowa.
The training and awareness-raising seminar devoted to the fight against hate speech and, more specifically, online hate speech was aimed at mobilising militants to prevent its spread. It also aimed to remobilise them behind the party’s National President in preparation for future elections.
“…it refers to any written or spoken communication that conveys a feeling of deep antipathy towards an individual or group because of their identity, which may be religious, ethnic, racial or other,” Minister Libom Likeng said.
Thus, hate speech is any written or spoken communication in which one person does or wishes to do harm to another. That is, these are basically hate messages and comments posted on social media, incitement to violence, cyber-harassment and cyber-bullying.
The workshop was, therefore, geared towards committing the CPDM’s leaders to fight against hate speech and promote of living together by building their capacity to enable them act as trainers within the party structures and take the training to the grassroots.
“Hate speech aims to hurt, dehumanise, harass, intimidate, weaken, degrade and victimise target groups, thereby fomenting insensitivity and brutality towards them,” she furthered.
To her, the most common manifestations of hate speech in Cameroon include ethnic and social discrimination and stigmatisation, tribalism, irredentist claims, calls for sedition and sometimes even genocide, gender-based violence, among others.
Experts say hate speech is easily spread through the media, both traditional (newspapers, radio, television) and digital, but above all via social networks.
However, in the face of this persistent and worrying rise in hate speech in Cameroon, the public authorities have taken major regulatory, strategic and operational measures. Awareness campaigns are underway, particularly regarding the spread of hate speech online.
But beyond the action of the State, “the fight against hate speech requires us, as militants of the Party, to mobilise, give meaning to our militancy, by committing ourselves resolutely to the battle against the propagation of hate speech,” said Minister Minette Libom Likeng.
“And we, militants of the Mvila, must be at the forefront of this battle, which involves the whole nation. Our civic and patriotic commitment will reflect our true militancy.”