- Target Audience
- FamiliesGeneral public
- key themes association
- Community engagement/civil societySocial cohesion and polarisation
- Peer Reviewed practice
The Business Council for Democracy is a project initiated by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Hertie Foundation and Robert Bosch Foundation.
Type of Organisation: NGO
The Business Council for Democracy (BC4D) is an 8-week educational programme on online harms such as hate speech, disinformation and conspiracy myths, targeting an adult audience and reaching them at their place of work in weekly virtual sessions. The programme combines knowledge transfer with practical tips and recommendations to tackle digital challenges online, aiming at encouraging participants to be active digital citizens.
Additionally, the BC4D establishes a network of participating companies and employers, giving the private sector a role in building resilience and protecting democracy. In regular virtual meetings, different challenges and work place initiatives standing up for human rights are discussed and presented.
Thus far, approximately 30 employers have joined the BC4D, aiming at demonstrating their commitment to democratic values. Especially the past year demonstrated the need to discuss online harms, as disinformation and conspiracy myths were increasingly shared, and also affect company and work cultures.
Employers can directly reach out to the project team and ask to implement the educational programme for their employees free of charge, and additionally there are outreach efforts on the project’s side. Employees participate in the programme on a voluntary basis. Since the programme is scheduled during working hours, they also reach people who you usually don’t reach (not only the usual suspects).
The primary deliverable is the eight-session curriculum with modules on hate speech, disinformation and conspiracy myths.
The modules cover information on the above-mentioned topics, such as the consequences of hate speech for individuals, but also society, the motives triggering disinformation campaigns and how they are spread, and the functions that conspiracy myths fulfil.
Additionally, the participants are equipped with practical tips, so they can tackle hate speech online (such as counter-speech strategies and tools to report illegal hate speech), do their own factchecks, and practice communication strategies to be able to discuss with someone spreading disinformation and/or conspiracy myths.
Additionally, thematic extension modules will be developed (e.g. on anti-Semitism online) as well as a train the trainers course for multipliers within companies and employers.