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PeaceGeeks launches new program in Jordan to respond to extremism in online spaces

PeaceGeeks is excited to announce that we have received funding of $1.1 million CAD from the Government of Canada to launch a new capacity building program in Jordan that responds to hate speech, polarization, discrimination and extremism online.

In recent years, violent extremist groups have used media tactics, such as mobile apps, print magazines, high-end videos, documentaries and social media to effectively recruit and incite violent actions.

The Meshkat Community (مجتمع مشكاة) project engages Jordanian activists, artists, religious leaders and other community stakeholders, particularly youth, to strengthen their capacities and share best practices on promoting alternative narratives to violence and extremism in Jordan and across the Middle East. PeaceGeeks aims to give community members the digital skills and platforms to collaboratively create and amplify culturally-relevant media that promotes acceptance, tolerance and understanding.

The resulting digital content will be produced and featured via social media, YouTube channels, the Meshkat Community website, artistic displays and more.

The project launches with a series of community workshops, co-hosted with partner NGOs including Tech Tribes, Kharabeesh, Nawafth and JOHUD, that aim to incubate ideas for the creation and dissemination of positive narratives, as well as promote dialogue on strengthening community resilience.

Meshkat Community will also gather our first cohort of four local artists who will be trained on strategies for furthering tolerance through their art. The resulting creative productions are independent works of the artists, but will be disseminated in conjunction with PeaceGeeks.

In recent years, violent extremist groups have used media tactics, such as mobile apps, print magazines, high-end videos, documentaries and social media to effectively recruit and incite violent actions. The launch of Meshkat Community comes at a crucial juncture for Jordan, which faces regional tensions due to the influx of 2.7 million refugees, and has seen upwards of 2,000 of its citizens, mostly young men, travel to join extremist organizations such as Daesh (ISIS). While the Jordanian government has launched various programs to counter the spread of extremist ideology, there is much still we can learn from the efficacy of grassroots anti-extremist messages initiated from within Jordanian society and amplified by the power of social media.

The Meshkat Community Arabic language website will go live in May, with an English version to follow.

Jun 15, 2017
Category: Project Profile