Myliu Panda

I LOVE PANDA Campaign: prevention of hate speech via virus of joy

2014/03/28

Vilnius has a new inhabitant. An inhabitant who makes chocolate, rides tricycle and invites everyone to share their messages of joy. She is a little bit black, a little bit white and a little bit Asian. But why to talk through colour, when you can talk through LOVE? Lithuanian National No Hate Speech campaign is raising this question.

 

Lithuanian National Campaign is based on the ideas and aims of No Hate Speech Movement, but it took its own approach and turned into I LOVE PANDA. This campaign is implemented by the NGO ‘National Institute for Social Integration’ (NISI) which creates and applies social innovations that support the integration of the persons from various socially vulnerable groups within the manifold society. I LOVE PANDA is the national campaign of joy, which is based upon the values of human rights, positive thinking and active participation of youth. It aims at developing friendly and respectful cyberspace and mutual understanding between young people online. First steps of national No Hate Speech campaign in Lithuania are intended  to develop socially positive attitudes, to get attention of society,  especially youth, and inspire them to act.“We believe, that happy people don’t spread hate. Happy people don’t ignore hate when they see it”, – says director of NISI Neringa Jurčiukonytė.

 

Though the official start of I LOVE PANDA was on the 20th of March, No Hate Panda started her good deeds long before that. On the 8th of December Panda made her first public appearance during the NGO Christmas Fair, held at the Presidential courtyard. Even the President Dalia Grybauskaitė was awarded with joyful hug. Glad about her first good impression, Panda continued her joyful journey by setting up National Campaign Committee and taking part in the conference on youth policy at the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania. When everybody started talking about upcoming Olympic games – Panda decided to break the records of her own. Since sport is not really her cup of tea, she decided to keep the spirit alive by cycling around Vilnius oldtown. The record of nearly 1000 hugs was reached during a couple of hours.

 

A key to seccess of creating a hate speech-free environment is to start from the youngest. “Young people tend to forget, that hate speach they use on  the internet, has serious consequences. Education is crucial in order to have society without hatered “- said project coordinator Viktorija Bružaitė after I LOVE PANDA campaign has made a short tour around schools and invited more that 220 students to talk about human rights and prevention of hate speech.

 

I LOVE PANDA campaign aims to introduce youth  with tools, needed to react to hate speech in social networks. “People using hate speech often believe that this behaviour will gain them popularity. If audience will react properly and show that hate is not the way to go, virtual network will become more friendly” –  says director of NISI Neringa Jurčiukonytė.

 

On 20th of March Panda officially started campaign with an interactive debate by famous bloggers, people well known for their activities online, concerning bullying, hate speech online, active participation and creation of a better and more friendly cyberspace for everybody. Both debate and the evening part „Musicians for human rights!“ embodied main ideas Panda stands for: combating hate speach, spreading joy and belief – if new resident of Vilnius streets can make a change in the society, then so do you.  

 

The adventures of the ambassador of the campaign already shows, that we are on the way. Panda virus of No Hate is becoming more powerful. Official campaign website and Facebook page already got the attention of politicians, wide society and youth, posting supportive posts and gratitude for the work the campaign is doing.

 

Further information about the campaign  www.myliupanda.lt

 

I LOVE PANDA campaign is inspired by „No Hate Speech Movement“. This movement was initiated by the European Council in 2013, when a serious concern was expressed towards hate speech in virtual network and violation of human rights.

 

I LOVE PANDA campaign is a part of programme “All different – All equal: Human rights, active participation and variety”. It is a part of NGO Programme Lithuania, funded by EEA Grants (www.nvoprograma.lt).

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