The ‘Resilient Youth against Far-Right Extremist Messaging Online’ (YouthRightOn) project aims to strengthen prevention and address underlying factors contributing to far-right radicalisation by putting forward alternative narratives and promoting critical thinking, openmindedness and civic engagement. ‘Find Another Way’ is an online strategic communications campaign, developed as the main impact tool of the project.
The campaign seeks to build the necessary skills young people need to filter online content and resist hostile or manipulative narratives. The overall goals of YouthRightOn are to reduce support for use of violence and anti-minority narratives, increase awareness of alternative perspectives about ‘others’, increase engagement with resilience-building activities and build essential skills and competences.
The target audience(s) of the project include youth (ages 14–19) residing in Bulgaria. Two target sub-groups were identified: passive endorsers of far-right messages and activists. Below are some of the key outcomes of the project.
- Based on thorough diagnostics, the project achieved a deep understanding of the target group, its vulnerabilities to far-right messages and potential avenues of change. The rich data and helpful insights generated serve as a baseline in future resilience-building initiatives and campaigns.
- To build comprehensive core resilience skills among youth, the campaign effectively combined online alternative messaging with offline engagement in schools (through interactive lesson plans and training for teachers).
- The campaign reached a substantial part of the target group on social media and sparked genuine debate and exposure to positive and alternative narratives around the most polarising topics such as antiminority sentiments and disinformation. This helped in challenging the echo chamber of predominantly negative reporting on Roma and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQI) community.
- The evaluation shows that the majority of youngsters recognised the core campaign messages and could relate to these through their own personal experiences and emotions. The readiness to act against hateful or extremist content on social media (by reporting it) increased dramatically following the project intervention.
This paper follows a briefing structure that includes a brief summary of the campaign, the achievements of the project, the lessons learned on online campaigning in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE), and links to some of the campaign messages
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