‘Hate Speech on Hippos’ brochure has been published in Belarus. Its authors present the typology of hate speech, using simple and digestible examples. Also, they provide page-to-page comments from a lawyer and a sociologist.
The brochure begins with the illustration of a stone with the words ‘Hippos are not animals. They are non-animals!’ On seeing this, “the blood in the hippopotamus’ veins started boiling from resentment and indignation.”
Consequently, the authors of the comics brochure narrated about the vicissitudes of the feud between hippos and behemoths, growing according to all the laws of drama, and resulting in the violent conflict. The brochure creators used a clear analogy between the Artiodactyla mammals in fight with each other and the people, who discriminate each other for the presence of minor differences in their identities.
Violetta Yermakova and Aleh Razhkou are journalists and international experts in the field of hate speech. They appeal to the reader with a call to counteract to manifestations of hate speech by means of self-regulation and education rather than using legal bans.
The ‘Hate Speech on Hippos’ brochure answers the following questions: ‘Can the hate speech simply be banned?’, ‘Why should I react to hate speech?’, ‘What can I do about it?’
Aleh Razhkou, coordinator of ‘Journalists for Tolerance’ Human Rights Initiative: ‘Hate speech is a complex and complicated notion, regarded in different ways by sociologists, human rights defenders and lawyers. There exist a lot of definitions of hate speech. However, none of them are totally comprehensive and universal’. Using bright examples, we’ve tried to combine several approaches in this brochure, so that each reader could form an opinion regarding the essence of hate speech and its danger for the society’.’
The brochure is useful for journalists and bloggers in their text writing work. Also, activists will learn from the brochure how to react to verbal aggression and stop it. Moreover, lawyers will think over the margins of freedom of expression and the ways it could be restricted if the borderline of hate speech is crossed.