[Korea Times] Japanese anti-hate speech NGO wins Internet Peace Prize



    Japanese anti-hate speech NGO wins Internet Peace Prize
    Posted : 2018-10-12 17:38
    Updated : 2018-10-12 17:38

    Takao Yamada, right, the director of Kawasaki Network of Citizens Against Hate Speech, poses with Min Byoung-chul, the chairman of the Sunfull Internet Peace Movement at Hangyang University in Seoul, Thursday, after receiving an award from the Korean nongovernmental organization. Courtesy of Sunfull Internet Peace Movement

    By Kim Jae-heun

    The Sunfull Internet Peace Movement awarded the Internet Peace Prize to Japanese anti-hate speech citizens network Kawasaki Network of Citizens Against Hate Speech, Thursday.

    "I am very honored and happy to receive this prize from the Korean organization. I hope our efforts can be more recognized here," Takao Yamada, director of the Japanese citizens network, told The Korea Times during the award ceremony at Hanyang University in Seoul.

    "Cyberbullying causes harm to foreigners living in Japan. We want to stop the discrimination against them."

    The Kawasaki Network of Citizens Against Hate Speech is comprised of 165 human rights organizations working to fight hate speech and discrimination against foreigners and minorities in Japan. The Japanese NGO has been watching cyberbullying cases closely since 2016 and has paid particular attention to harassment on social media. 

    The group members have also been conducting lectures to educate people about the problem of hate speech and its consequences. 

    "Hate speech, which is now a major issue in Japan, is an obvious violation of human rights. The Kawasaki Network of Citizens Against Hate Speech is a movement to restore human dignity and pursue peace by countering against such hate speech," Hiro-o Sekida, the president of the Japanese NGO, said through a video clip. 

    The Japanese citizens group also aims to establish an ordinance to punish those who insult and discriminate against foreigners for groundless reasons.

    "In the short term, we want to eliminate the hate-speech culture we witness at the moment. But we are not just saying let's put an end to it. We want to enact a punishment by law in the end," Yamada said.

    He added that distorted history is causing hate speech between Koreans and Japanese and that Japanese should get their facts straight. 

    "Japanese have wrong information about history and we attack Koreans based on it. They are taking what they should not take, such as what our government teaches them. They criticize based on the wrong understanding of history," Yamada said. 

    Japanese internet etiquette advocator Ken Ogiso also received the internet peace award for his efforts to tackle cyberbullying. He has conducted more than 2,000 lectures to more than 400,000 people in Japan on internet etiquette and communication ethics for the prevention of violence. 

    "False information being spread via the internet can seriously hurt others, so such words, which you would not say in person, should not be delivered via the internet," Ogiso said.