Countering misinformation and hate speech in the digital world: workshops for teachers in Hungary, Kosovo, Slovakia and Slovenia

13 December 2022 - After two successful series of workshops for teachers on how to fight misinformation and hatred online in June and November 2021 and more calls for further training among educators, five more workshops were held this year.

Around eighty teachers from Hungary, Kosovo, Slovakia and Slovenia took part in the sessions held online or in hybrid format from 28 November to 13 December. The interactive workshops were offered by the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna in cooperation with Austrian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) ZARA Training to teach teachers more about on how to sensitize and engage young people to help stop the spread of false information in the digital world and tackle discrimination and hate speech.

The workshop trainers from ZARA Training, specialized in anti-racism work and bystander intervention online, provided valuable tips on how to identify untrustworthy sources as well as invasive and false claims on various social media channels. One of the coaches remarked that “all forms of discrimination that happen online have to be addressed. The goal is that it is reported and seen.” And that we all should “raise awareness of the different types of violence”.

In one of the exercises of the workshop, the participating teachers were invited to rate the offensiveness of postings and explain why they perceived some allegations as moderate but others as insulting. In another exercise on victim blaming, one of the trainers said: “Victim blaming is huge especially if we are talking about cyber bullying. It also has a lot to do with shame. Students are often told that it is their fault. It can happen to anybody for any reason, it is never the fault of the victim.”


Later on, the teachers shared their own experiences of online hate speech in their teaching environment and how they approached it. Many of the participants expressed their gratitude for the useful information and the new ideas on how to deal with hate speech that were presented during the workshop: “This is something that we must talk about more in schools,” said one teacher from Slovenia. “You’ve provided some very helpful information,” said another participant from Slovakia, “It’s a good start to work with my students.”

The workshops were organized by UNIS Vienna and the Austrian NGO ZARA Training in cooperation with the UN Association (UNA) Slovenia, the National Institute for Education and Youth (NIVAM) of Slovakia, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Kosovo. In his welcome remarks, UNIS Vienna Director Martin Nesirky thanked all participants for their interest and commitment and underlined their crucial role as educators to address the issues with their students. He also encouraged the participants to join the Verified and #NoToHate Campaigns of the United Nations.