Violent Extremism in Cyber/Digital Space
The project ‘Young bh. Digital Monitors’ HUB for Safety - recognising and reporting violent extremism’, which is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was created in response to the increase in hate speech and violent extremism on social networks as well as the lack of information about the sources and causes of extreme content, especially those generated by young people. One of the key project activities is the Youth Academy. After the first Academy module, titled ‘Definition of Hate Speech, Radicalism and Violent Extremism’ was held in Bihać, the second module, titled ‘Violent Extremism in Cyber/Digital Space’, took place in Tuzla with lecturers from the Netherlands, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bojana Kostić, one of the lecturers, pointed out “I specifically looked at the influence of social networks on information flows and the public sphere from a global and local perspective as well as the evolution and tactics of online manipulation on social networks by relying on bots and trolls and through the analysis of local examples. It was concluded that literacy on social networks does not only require an understanding of the content and accuracy of the information itself but also an understanding of the broader framework of the system for managing and amplifying (harmful and extremist) content and that critical analysis and questioning of these processes is of key importance for strengthening democratically active male and female citizens.” Assisted by experts from Kliping BH, the participants had the opportunity to learn how to use the available software for monitoring social networks, about the technical aspects of monitoring and the tools for identifying and mapping keywords. Listening to a lecture given by Bojana Kostić and Andrej Petrovski, they learned how to spot bots and trolls on social networks, how to position themselves in the digital environment and how to develop resistance to cyberattacks.
Asja Suljić, a participant of the Academy, stated “During the module on violent extremism, through interactive discussions, I realised how much as a young person I should influence my environment in terms of monitoring content, primarily on social media. Together with experts from the field of journalism and the cyber world I gained experience that I will apply in the future in order to make the Internet a safe place for myself and to educate my generation, as the most vulnerable age group, about potential risks.” All information about the project ‘Young bh. Digital Monitors’ HUB for Safety - recognising and reporting violent extremism’ can be found on the website and social networks of the Organisation ‘Ja bih u EU’ (www.jabiheu.ba).