2022 Assembly


Combating Hate Speech online and offline – a workshop held in Vienna by ERSTE Foundation NGO Academy, 25-26 June, 2018.



A two-day workshop on ‘Combating Hate Speech online and offline’ was organised by the ERSTE Foundation NGO Academy and offered to non-governmental organisations from Eastern and Central Europe. The workshop took place in Vienna, Austria, 25-26 June, 2018. It was led by Barbara Unterlerchner & Dieter Gremel from ZARA (Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit, Eng.: Civil Courage and Anti-Racism Work). RENATE member, Aneta Grabowska, took part in this workshop on behalf of PoMOC Association from Poland.
Workshop description
This workshop used interactive methods to teach media literacy considering the following:

  • How do I best react to attacks and aggression on the net as a person as well as an organisation?
  • How can I actively combat hate speech?
  • How can I support victims of online hate speech?
  • Where and how can I find help as a victim?
  • How do I report hate speech on Facebook, YouTube & Co.?

Its aim was to develop effective responses and creative counterstrategies in dealing with discriminatory and racist slogans, try out different lines of argumentation and thus expand personal communication competences in the event of verbal conflicts, aggressive rhetoric and hate speech online and offline. Participants had a chance to gain media literacy and knowledge of digital media and online hate. They could gain an insight into the psychology of prejudices and discrimination mechanisms, analyze reasons for aggressive behaviours and hone their counterstrategies and communication skills.

Barbara Unterlerchner manages the newly created Austrian counselling service against online hate #GegenHassimNetz,  She is a lawyer, a trainer and a criminologist. From 2010-2017 she worked at the White Ring in Vienna as head of the department of victim support and victim rights. She has professional experience in the field of asylum law, in counseling and monitoring of victims of domestic violence, and she participated in several national and European projects on the subject of trafficking in human beings, violence in the family and the support of crime victims.
Dieter Gremel is a psychologist, trainer and organizational consultant focused on experiential learning (IOA®) and systemic perspectives and a psychotherapist (Systemic Family Therapist) i.A.u.S. (la:sf). He is a founding Member of NHBE – network for experiential learning, consulting and development and associate partner at His main fields of consulting and training are: Diversity Management, Teambuilding and Group Dynamics, Participation Process and Decision-Making Processes, Self-Development.
The time of the training in Vienna was well spent and enriching for the 17 participants from 9 European countries including: Albania, Austria, Bosnia&Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Kosovo, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Serbia. They learned about ZARA and its mission to give legal counselling to victims of discriminatory behaviour & racism. The name ZARA is a German acronym for ‘’Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit”, which means ‘’Civil Courage and Anti-Racism Work” in English. The organisation was founded in Vienna in 1999 and is a nationwide ngo. There are three pillars of ZARA’s activities: counselling, prevention and public relations. ZARA defines civil courage as follows: ‘’civil courage starts with the perception of wrongs and the feeling of responsibility and results in the need to act, i.e.: in having the courage to actively stand up for someone who is wronged. This may mean the risk of being exposed to disadvantages oneself and of having to run counter to societal and public regulations or tendencies.” More about ZARA at:
Training participants were taken through different stages of interactive exercises which led them step by step to gain an understanding of different goals and strategies to argue. They had a possibility to learn about their own assertiveness by completing a self-assessment questionnaire. A very valuable experience was ‘building the wall of terror’ to which everybody could contribute by adding hate slogans / stereotypes which she / he experienced or is aware these exist in her / his country. This made the basis for further exercises in groups of three, where rotating roles of an offender, defender and an observer were played. All were advised to follow their moral compass.
Compliments to all the trainers! Thank you to the organisers for making the workshop happen!
Aneta Grabowska.
(Workshop Description comes from the official information from the organisers)
Keywords/Tags:  hate speech, hate, offline, online, civil courage, Vienna, Austria, ZARA, Barbara Unterlerchner, Dieter Gremel, ERSTE Foundation, NGO Academy, PoMOC Association, workshop, course, training