In recent years, new forms of exclusion, racism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance have developed in Europe and around the world. Extremist movements and populist parties have emerged in a number of European countries, which have found fertile ground in economic crises and social insecurity among many citizens. With a strong presence in the online media, this propaganda offensive achieves a high impact, especially among young people. How can and should a democratic society respond to these developments? Do we need a digital moral courage of each individual to protect fairness, tolerance and democracy? What could media supervision look like for the digital world? On June 7, 2018, 80 European experts discussed this topic at the Rhineland-Palatinate State Representation in Berlin at the invitation of the State Representative for Rhineland-Palatinate and the State Office for Media and Communication (LMK) Rhineland-Palatinate.
“In the analog world, there is the word civil courage. That’s exactly what you need on the net: Digitalcourage. Because the internet belongs to us all. Hatred, hostility and lies must be self-confidently contradicted and counteracted. MEET is the right way to teach young people across Europe how to understand propaganda and discrimination online and how to respond to it. I therefore gladly support the project and the work of the Central Office for Media and Communication. The symposium creates a public reflection space to discuss how democracy can take place in the network, “said the plenipotentiary at the Federal Government and in Europe, for the media and digital affairs of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Ms Staatssekretärin Heike Raab.
“Education is the best investment in our democracy,” LMK Director Dr. Marc Jan Eumann. “Media education is therefore crucial to exploiting the network’s opportunities for our democracy. That’s why it’s important to better link critical media education with political and intercultural learning. “
At the event, klicksafe presented the booklet “Right-Wing Extremism Has Many Faces: How To Recognize Right-Wing Extremism – And What To Do Against Hatred?”, which focuses on communicating core values of human coexistence to clear counter-strategies.
The subsidiary of LMK medien+bildung.com presented concepts for intercultural learning and media literacy for tolerance and fairness, which were developed in the ErasmusPlus project “MEET – Media Education for Equity and Tolerance”. As one of the five partners in the MEET project, medien+bildung.com also addressed the question of how young people from so-called educationally disadvantaged backgrounds see through the mechanisms of discrimination and propaganda. Young people and teachers were involved in an application-based “action research” process to jointly develop methods of intercultural media education.
The presented projects and more were finally discussed in the roundtable discussion “How to learn democracy?” Moderated by the taz-editor and representative of the “Neue Deutsche Medienmacher” Ebru Tasdemir, at which the Berlin State Secretary for Civic Engagement and International Affairs Sawsan Chebli, the Political Advisor of the Turkish Community in Germany Lena Graser, the Managing Director of ufuq eV dr. Götz Nordbruch, as well as the Slovenian MEET project partner dr. Iztok Sori from the Mirovni Peace Institute in Ljubljana.
Dr. Marc Jan Eumann, Director of LMK Landeszentrale für Medien und Kommunikation, Berlin, June 7, 2018