Tackling hate speech online and elsewhere is a priority for educators and policymakers alike. Dr Federico Faloppa, Associate Professor of Italian Studies and Linguistics, is determined to challenge prejudice and abuse wherever it finds a platform. And as Head of Amnesty International Italy’s new Centre of Excellence on hate speech, he is set to confront it.

Hate speech is one of the most debated issues at global level. In recent years groups inciting discrimination and violence have found new platforms online that give them access to audiences never reached before. Finding ways to develop counter-narratives and combat hate speech both online and in the real-world is a priority for educators, communications specialists and policymakers worldwide.

Dr Faloppa, a prominent expert on hate speech has been appointed by Amnesty International Italy to head a ‘Centre for Excellence’ for monitoring prejudice and abuse on and offline. Dr Faloppa will set the Centre’s research agenda and direct world-class inquiry into hate speech and discrimination, shaping education and campaigns across Italy. He’ll be liaising with Amnesty International’s many research centres to identify and share best practice across the organisation.

Building on his work with educators and Amnesty Italy in the run-up to the 2019 European elections, Dr Faloppa trained and supervised 200 Amnesty activists as they searched for hate speech on social media platforms to alert policymakers to its presence. His training courses have educated journalists, lawyers and activists across Italy and his guidelines on hate speech and its counter-narratives are now central to Amnesty International training materials used worldwide.

Partners: Amnesty International Italy, National Association of Journalists ‘Carta di Roma’, COSPE NGO (Florence)

Funders: Amnesty International Italy

Judges’ comment: “Dr Faloppa is using a clear strategy of engagement to build collaborations and influence stakeholders to support policy makers in developing counter-narratives to hate speech.”

Shortlisted for the University Research Engagement and Impact Awards 2019 – WINNER

First published: June 2019