The incitement to hatred in the public sphere must stop!

Maria Cernat joins the feminist activist Andreea Rusu, Executive Director of the Romania-based Center Filia for a discussion.

Hate speech and incitement to violence against women in Romania is not something new. What is new is the fact that there is resistance against it. Andreea Rusu, Executive Director of the Center Filia, talked to us about the initiative of her organization in filing a criminal complaint against the vlogger Alexandru Bălan, who incited the public to rape girls. Maria Cernat talked with her about this complaint and about the way in which Andreea sees the broad problem of hate speech in the unregulated online public space wherein social media platforms claim to have limited or no responsibility for the content they contain and disseminate. Also, the counteraction against hate speech has led to discussions about censorship and incarcerating feminism as a counter response in the public space.

It is often noted that according to the Eurobarometer for Gender Equality, 55% of the citizens believe that raping women can be justified in some cases: if the victim was dressed in a provocative way, if she had consumed too much alcohol and became impaired, if she had come voluntarily to the home of the aggressor, seemingly without the need to discuss whether the male aggressor is capable of controling his sexual impulses, coupled with the thinking that women are considered easy prey at the hand of a “real man”! These backward beliefs are cultivated in the unregulated online sphere such as social media. In this interview, the well-known Romanian activist, project manager, voice of civil society and director of the center Filia speaks out about these issues.

On June 24th, 2020 an article appeared in the New York Times which explored the fact that the exact profits of sites like YouTube.com are held secret. It was said that YouTube alone makes between 16 billion and 25 billion dollars (USD) in profit annually. Isn’t it possible to expect that at least 30% of this colossal sum be directed towards initiatives to prevent and curtail hate speech?

Following is the interview with Andreea Rusu:

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