‘Cyberhate’ Topic of Unlearning Intolerance Seminar at United Nations Headquarters 16 June

Note No. 6207
10 June 2009

‘Cyberhate’ Topic of Unlearning Intolerance Seminar at United Nations Headquarters 16 June

10 June 2009
Press Release
Note No. 6207
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents



at United Nations Headquarters 16 June


Young people have unprecedented freedom to explore and learn about the world via the Internet, yet hateful online content and cyberbullying are a constant threat.  Such harassment can have disastrous results including stress, poor grades, inability to cope with the pressure and even suicide.

In the context of its Unlearning Intolerance Seminar Series, the United Nations Department of Public Information is organizing a seminar titled “Cyber Hate: Danger in Cyber Space”, which will explore the impact of hate-related discourse on the Internet and ways to counter it.  The event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 16 June in Conference Room 2 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.  The event will also be webcast at www.un.org/webcast.

“The virtual world has exciting possibilities for nurturing children and helping them grow into creative, productive adults.  But we must mind the pitfalls that could scar them for life.  I urge policymakers and industry leaders to find the means to make the rapidly evolving virtual world safe for everyone,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will open the seminar.

Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will welcome the keynote speaker, Hemanshu Nigam, Chief Security Officer, News Corporation and MySpace.  Mr. Nigam, a veteran in online security, has almost 20 years of experience in both private industry and law enforcement fields.

Moderated by Eric Falt, Director of the Department of Public Information’s Outreach Division, the seminar will begin with a presentation on the status of hate on the Internet, followed by a panel highlighting the effects of cyberhate on youth.  A workshop presented by the Anti-Defamation League on strategies for combating cyberbullying will conclude the morning session.  The afternoon segment will focus on prevention and regulation issues.  The seminar will conclude with a discussion on, and delivery of, recommendations for safe and responsible dissemination of online information that is respectful of all groups.

WiredSafety is a charity that runs StopCyberbullying.org.  It has worked to help victims of online hate, harassment and bullying since 1995 and will sponsor a journalists’ luncheon in connection with the seminar.  For more information on the organization, please contact Parry Aftab, Executive Director at e-mail:  Parry@Aftab.com, or visit www.WiredSafety.org.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is a civil rights/human relations agency that fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.  ADL conducts educational and anti-bias training programmes and has produced a number of resources on cyberbullying for educators, parents and administrators.  For details on these programmes, please visit www.adl.org.  For more information on ADL, please contact Myrna Shinbaum, Director of Media Relations, at e-mail:  adlmedia@adl.org, or tel.:  212 885 7747.

The Department of Public Information Outreach Division initiated the Unlearning Intolerance Seminar Series in 2004 to examine different manifestations of intolerance and to promote respect and understanding amongst peoples.  These events offer opportunities to discuss how intolerance can be “unlearned” through education, inclusion and positive example.  For more information, please contact Kimberly Mann, Manager of the Series, at e-mail:  mann@un.org, or tel.:  212 963 6835.  The programme will soon launch its new website at www.un.org/en/unlearningintolerance.

Advance registration for this event is required.  Please send name and contact information to e-mail:  unlearningintolerance@un.org or by fax to 212 963 0536.  The United Nations visitors’ entrance at First Avenue and 46th Street will open at 8:30 a.m.  Photo identification is required to pass through United Nations Security.

For United Nations media accreditation (required), please visit www.un.org/media/accreditation or contact Gary Fowlie, Chief, Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, Department of Public Information at tel.:  212 963 6937 or by fax at 212 963 4642.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.