The theme for the 6th SRP Distinguished Lecture & Inter-Religious Symposium (henceforth DLS2020) is #Religion: Countering Hate Speech and Fake News.
While the phenomenon of hate speech is not new, the speed at which it travels and the extensive reach that it has with the advent of social media platforms has exacerbated tensions among communities, in some cases even escalating to violent conflicts. This has affected hate speech directed at religious communities as much as many other groups. Similarly, the democratisation of information on the Internet has contributed to the easy and rapid spread of falsehoods that are intentionally created to incite animosity among people who hold different beliefs or subscribe to different worldviews. The incidences of Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, and prejudice towards many other religious groups have been factors noticed in the reports of fake news. This has affected both Southeast Asia and many other parts of the globe.
DLS2020 will address the following questions: How do we promote interreligious solidarity to resist division caused through hate speech and fake news? How do we identify hate speech? How can we counter hate speech and false information designed to sow division in society? What are some useful counter-narratives to spread positive messages about religion? How can we establish trust across religious and ethnic communities using the Internet?