- Publication date
- 10 August 2022
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
The digital ecosystem is becoming both ever more complex and therefore equally important for practitioners to understand. It is one within which vulnerable audiences spend time, socialise and consume information, within which terrorists and extremists radicalise and recruit, and within which practitioners must do their work. As concluded in previous RAN (LOCAL) events, online prevention and countering of violent extremism (P/CVE) work should not be considered an ‘extra’ to the offline work.
One should not only look at either online or offline interventions but also how they interact and how online activities influence the local context – be it at schools, within communities, at demonstrations, etc. In theory, the development of online activities offers great possibilities and opportunities, including for educational and prevention work. But in practice, not all professionals feel at ease with the online environment, and the transition from offline to online requires special attention and effort. It should therefore be an integral part that is embedded through a holistic approach in local P/CVE work. However, being able to intervene online and to deal with the ‘offline’ consequences of online activities through a holistic approach is highly challenging for local coordinators and practitioners.
On 16 and 17 June 2022, local P/CVE coordinators came together with other practitioners and representatives from NGOs to discuss two sets of challenges that local coordinators indicated to be struggling with. For both sets, participants shared with each other what they are facing on the local level, why this is challenging to them and how they (try to) deal with these challenges.
Some recommendations that participants proposed to deal with the identified challenges:
- Do not fear General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations – find a way of working with them, rather than against them.
- Review and update the local multi-agency structure’s partners and agreements previously made to include the digital ecosystem – e.g. make new agreements about sharing information from online sources.
- Invest and professionalise in including the digital ecosystem within practitioners’ knowledge and skill sets.
- Digital resilience and media literacy (including knowledge of algorithms and filter bubbles) should continue to be taught not only to children but to anyone navigating online.