From 2 to 5 February the Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina organised a series of courses on the use of the Internet and social media for developing narratives to counter the spread of violent extremism. The events held in Tuzla, Banja Luka, Mostar and Sarajevo were attended by more than 90 participants, including members of local Coalitions against Hate, the Social Media Team, as well as teachers, religious leaders and local media correspondents.
The courses aimed to address the issue of online radicalization of individuals by facilitating the promotion of counter-extremist narratives and increasing the ability of participants to in turn improve the knowledge of individuals who are in a position to serve as the first line of prevention against radicalization, including teachers, religious and community leaders, friends, parents and other family members. Media literacy and online safety were highlighted as being of great significance for ensuring adequate alertness of those at risk.
Using the example of a local-language blog promoting ISIL, participants also learned to report harmful content on major social media platforms applying the specific terms of service of the platform hosting such content as a basis for reporting. The courses were organized within the framework of the ExB project Support to Dialogue on Prevention of Violent Extremism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, funded by the United States of America. As a follow-up to this activity, members of the Social Media Team will initiate a campaign aimed at encouraging the reporting of illicit content on the internet and creating locally-specific counter-narratives.
The courses were organized as part of the OSCE Mission’s project on supporting the dialogue for preventing violent extremism in BiH. This project contributes to the OSCE’s wider campaign “United in Countering Violent Extremism” (#UnitedCVE), which highlights the Organization’s comprehensive approach to preventing violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism.