I’m Doctor Erin Saltman and I‘m a senior researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in London.
Can one differentiate between online and offline hate speech?
Well we've come to a period where actually, online and offline are definitely together, but the way that that looks is obviously very different. So hate speech offline is very distinctive whereas online hate speech becomes quite a big grey area, it's very hard to and also a lot more people can sometimes be incentivized to be more online because they can have , they feel like they're not having to say something in front of direct people, it feels more protected, so we do see more engagement in extremist sometimes online, that people would not necessarily say offline.

What is counter-speech?
Counter-speech is a that's really only come about in the last few years, just like , as a sector, this is relatively new especially for governments, but particularly for civil society. Counter-speech can also be called counter- or even . Counter-speech doesn't necessarily mean that it's negative speech. What it means is any sort of pathway or route or project that is undermining extremist rhetoric. So that could be through a , that could be offline through a protest or an initiative, it could be through a and it's different types of ways of engaging and countering extremism online.

Why is counter-speech so important?
Counter-speech, particularly now, is highly important because we're witnessing that the typical things that would work offline such as hate speech, editing out individuals, them to have public platform if they’re hate preachers, people tend to find online platforms as a way of continuing this and actually counter-speech is extremely effective when we get engaging against extremism online because the typical of trying to censor or filter extremist content simply aren't working. In essence, if you're using censorship, you're attacking a instead of a , and also it's , we see the same video or same comment coming back over and over, and actually just countering that with credible voices with civil society standing up against it is much more powerful.

What would be your recommendation for persons who want to take action against online racism?
So civil society has a crucial part to play in counter-extremism and in counter-speech online because they are the credible voice. A government voice or even the of a sector is not actually what is credible. Peers or credible former extremists, mothers, religious leaders, all have a to play in a very powerful voice. However, for a civil society individual, it can be quite to go and try to counter-an extremist which is not what I would ever ask anyone to do unless they really wanted to. I personally would not go on a KKK website and say stop being racist. Actually, there's a lot of ways to in hashtags or be a part of larger movements that are really positive, that actually aren't directly attacking anything but actually are just providing really positive alternatives that naturally extremism and everyone has a role to play in that.