Rome, Italy

Summer School on Misinformation, Disinformation and Hate Speech - Hybrid Format

blended course
when 3 July 2023 - 7 July 2023
language English
duration 1 week
fee EUR 800

In recent decades, rapid technological advancements have drastically altered how individuals connect, communicate, and access information. News and knowledge may now travel across the globe in a matter of seconds. While these digital and communicational innovations have sprung several new opportunities to organize, educate, and enlighten the international community, still these significant changes have also had unfavourable effects that we are only now beginning to address, such as the significantly increased rate at which false information, misleading information, and even hate speech propagate.

The international community as a whole is now faced with difficult geopolitical problems raised by disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech. People's vulnerability and risk exposure may be exacerbated by misinformation and disinformation. Likewise, hate speech puts the safety and dignity of individuals and groups at risk, either directly or indirectly. As an example, online hate speech that incites violence against a minority can cause psychological and social harm through intimidation, slander, and harassment.

The UN General Assembly has expressed concern over the proliferation of these phenomena and has welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General to promote international cooperation in countering disinformation through his report: Countering disinformation for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Moreover, in July 2021, the same UN entity highlighted global concerns over “the exponential spread and proliferation of hate speech” around the world and adopted a resolution on “promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance in countering hate speech”, proclaiming 18 June as the International Day for Countering Hate Speech. These new issues are altering how societies deal with democracy as well as how and when violence manifests itself.

With these considerations in mind, UNICRI and the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI) are launching the first edition of the Summer School on Misinformation, Disinformation and Hate Speech, which will be delivered from 3 to 7 July 2023.

Special focus will be given to various dimensions of hate speech and fake news, including the contemporary challenges linked to the Covid-19 pandemic and the role of social media in war and political propaganda campaigns. The existing international legal and policy frameworks will be examined with a view to improve participants’ ability to address the issue in a comprehensive way and promote their role as advocates for an effective change in public policies, strategies, and practices. More specifically, the curriculum of the course may focus on:

- The difference between disinformation and misinformation & the different types of disinformation and misinformation.
- The difference between hate speech and freedom of expression.
- An overview of the international legal framework and human rights standards used to counter hate speech and disinformation.
- The role of fake news in fuelling hate speech and the link between fake-news, misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech.
- Hate speech and misinformation in pandemics: anti-scientific propaganda during the Covid-19 crisis.
- The role of social media hate and disinformation in war and political propaganda campaigns.
- The role of AI in disinformation.
- Tools to monitor and respond to misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech – including the role of media.
- Proposing a counternarrative to hate speech – Debunking as a method of uncovering hate speech, disinformation, misinformation, and fake news.

The Summer School adopts a hybrid model of learning, which allows participants to attend lectures either in person or virtually through their own device, so as to adjust to individual needs and accommodate social distancing requirements.

Classes will be delivered live at SIOI premises for those participants on-site and will be streamed for those connected remotely. Special attention will be devoted to ensuring synchronous and seamless interaction with and amongst instructors and participants, both online and in class.

Course leader

UNICRI is one of the main training and research institutes of the UN System, holding a sound expertise in research and training, which is reflected in the organization of several capacity-building activities and specialized postgraduate courses.

Target group

The course is intended for university and post-graduate students, Ph.D. candidates, media and other professionals, including United Nations (UN) personnel, as well as anyone interested in gaining an understanding of disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech, how they manifest themselves and what tools are available to combat them.

Candidates must meet the following minimum requirements:

- Hold a three-year university degree issued by an internationally recognized university.
- Have a very good working knowledge of English.

Applications from students who expect to graduate at the end of the 2023/24 academic year are welcomed.

Course aim

The Summer School offers professional, legal, social, scientific, and academic perspectives through live webinars, group discussions, dynamic case studies, individual readings, and practical exercises. The faculty is composed of expert scholars and academics from leading universities, representatives of the United Nations system, international human rights bodies, and the civil society.

Whether attending the course in person at the SIOI’s beautiful premises in the centre of Rome (Italy), or through a dedicated online platform, participants will have the opportunity to interact with international recognized experts and peers from all over the world, to exchange view and opinions and build lasting professional relationships. This experience fosters intercultural dialogue and promotes a deeper understanding of some of the world’s most complex and debated issues.

Fee info

EUR 800: In-person modality: 800 Euro.

Registration fees includes:

- Tuition
- Course material
- Lectures’ recordings (upon request)
EUR 600: Online modality: 600 Euro.

Registration fees includes:

- Tuition
- Course material
- Lectures’ recordings (upon request)