The Counter-Narrative Handbook from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a counter-narrative is:
“...a message that offers a positive alternative to extremist propaganda, or alternatively aims to deconstruct or delegitimise extremist narratives.”
Explain (and, if you have time, explore with the learners) that many grassroots organisations have been actively targeting online hate speech and that these have been growing in recent years. These tend to be focussed on an issue that is personal, local and relevant to the members of the organisation.
Share this film introducing what counter-narratives are from Against Violent Extremism on YouTube.
Then split the group down into smaller groups; 3-5 learners is a good size.
Provide each member of the group with a copy of the Create a counter-narrative - Planning sheets.
Explain that each group needs to design a counter-narrative plan and all learners should complete a sheet.
Highlight that all learners should ensure that there is relevant information in every provided box of the template and explain that the purpose is not to completely plan the campaign in intricate detail.
To guide the planning process, provide learners with a range of scenario cards - ask them to select one scenario and plan their counter-narrative strategy accordingly using the planning sheets. (Alternatively, learners may wish to use an example they have witnessed online.)
Depending on the groups selected, some learners may benefit from selecting a “response card”; this will focus their attention on a particular style of response that their counter-narrative plan should adopt and use.
Learners may find it useful to view the Creativity in Counter-Narratives and Social Media and Counter-Narratives from Against Violent Extremism on YouTube before starting work. This story from Germany about how a far-right party’s advent calendar was mocked online is a great piece, showing how humour can be used as a counter-narrative.
Once learners have sufficiently developed their plans, draw the group back together.
Where time allows, ask some/all groups to share their plans as developed. Discuss and ask the remaining learners to provide constructive feedback.
Collect in all the plans and ask if learners feel they would consider using their plan if they had the opportunity to do so.
Understand how to develop a counter-narrative campaign. Demonstrate understanding of the strategies individuals can use when countering online hate speech.
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