What can society and global organizations do better to stop right-wing extremist radicalization and terrorist content online?
Norway's darkest day destroyed lives and local communities. The terrorist attack also raised acute questions about online radicalization and destructive lone actors motivated by right-wing radical extremism.
“10 years after 22 July 2011, there is a need to lift the effort against right-wing extremist terrorism to a global level. The discussion is no longer simply about the terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, but about a number of actions by broadband terrorists and lone wolves, some of them directly inspired by him”, saysProfessor Erik Tonningof the University of Bergen.
An international summit
On 25-27 August 2021, four research groups at the University of Bergen are hosting aninternational summiton this topic in collaboration with Utøya survivor Bjørn Ihler'sKhalifa Ihler Institute,and the British expert groupCentrefor Analysis of the Radical Right. They have brought together representatives from academia and civil society, Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the governments of New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, technology giants Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter, UN agencies, European Commission security advisers, expert groups, and a number of other organizations involved in the fight against terrorism.
“The best way to remember the cruel and tragic attack in Norway ten years ago is to jointly commit to further work to stop extremist radicalization and terrorist content online”, Tonning says.
How is it possible to prevent terrorist manifestos from spreading online, or for terrorist groups to communicate freely there? What practical and ethical challenges does this entail? How should we deal with these in line with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
A firm commitment to change
Through the three-day discussion forum, the organizers seek to build on existing frameworks and international cooperation. The forum will be based on theChristchurch Call to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online, an initiative where Norway is one of the founding nations, issued in the wake of the attack that murdered 51 innocent people in New Zealand in 2019.
“We have gathered global stakeholders at a high level who can make the big decisions in this area and contribute resources to follow them up”, Tonning says. The goal is to establish completely new mechanisms to counter the spread of harmful material online and the global effect of local terrorist attacks.
A working programme outlining a basis for future collaboration will be presented during the press conference on 27 August.
Press conference 27 August
A summary of the summit and a closing press conference on 27 August will be streamed live from 17:00, andrequires registration via this link.
The global stakeholders will be represented in the press conference. The focus will be on what can emerge from these discussions in the form of a specific programme of work and funding.
For more informationor to schedule interviews with participants, please email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The open programme on 25 Augustwill be streamed live from the University Aula viaUiB's website– here you will also find the complete programme.