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Empowering Armenian Researchers to Combat Gender-Based Hate Online

What can we do against online hate speech against women? At Democracy Reporting International we believe that this form of gender-based violence and discrimination against women impedes the functioning of healthy democracies, so we are training local actors with know-how in countering online hate speech.  

We do this because we think that committed civil society organisations can make a difference in curbing gendered online hate speech with detection mechanisms and by advocating for solutions in front of platforms and authorities. We empower these local actors with our signature knowledge, tools and methodologies, the same we use to monitor social media globally.  

Our latest of such efforts took place in Armenia. Our research team delivered a social media monitoring course to the human rights and democracy advocate organisation All for Rights Foundation (ARF) this February, in cooperation with the European Partnership for Democracy and OxYGen Foundation. 

Delivered across four modules, the training relies on active participation and interactive exercises to help learners establish a theoretical and technical foundation in social media monitoring. After looking at social media’s role in shaping modern political discourse, the participants explored further research designs for their social media monitoring project throughout the modules. Upon completing the modules, they had learned how to collect and analyse data qualitatively and how they can best apply their findings to advocate more effectively against hate speech and gender-based discrimination. 

All for Rights Foundation is now eager to apply those learning and make their contribution to curbing online hate speech against women in Armenia. They will begin investigating the prevalence of gender-based hate speech against prominent women in Armenian politics. Using qualitative and quantitative methods—with DRI’s Digital Democracy team leading the quantitative side, the ARF team will produce a comprehensive report on online hate speech and advocate for changes in their country.  

‘Even though our team includes individuals with diverse research backgrounds, the content provided was updated, engaging, and directly relevant to our work, taking into account the unique context of Armenia. We are optimistic about the positive outcomes of our collaboration, bolstered by the ongoing support from DRI.’ 

—From the participants’ evaluation and feedback  

ARF's research endeavours to spark a vibrant and broad conversation addressing hate speech in Armenia. With the country's legal framework evolving, there's a critical need for updates to strike a balance between freedom of expression and effectively combating hate speech. This research aligns with broader advocacy initiatives promoting women's rights and gender equality in Armenia, contributing to the ongoing policy dialogue within the EQUAL platform – EU 4 Women Empowerment in Armenia. 

The “Empowering Women: Digital Safeguarding Against Hate Speech” is a sub-grant implemented by ARF within the “EQUAL – EU 4 Women Empowerment in Armenia” project.  

“EQUAL - EU 4 Women Empowerment in Armenia” project is implemented by OxYGen Foundation, European Partnership for Democracy NGO, Netherlands Helsinki Committee NGO, Women’s Support Center NGO, WINNET Goris Development Foundation in cooperation with Winnet Sweden NGO. The project is funded by the European Union. DRI’s role is to provide a capacity development programme on social media monitoring and research support.  

If you are interested to learn more about the training opportunities at DRI for your team or organisation, please email us to [email protected] with ‘SMM training’ in subject line.