“If we operate in an environment that allows minorities to express themselves, then the opportunities become manifold” argues Dr Kyriaki Topidi

News / 30.7.22

Dr Kyriaki Topidi, Senior Researcher at the European Centre for Minority Issues, gave a keynote speech at the 2022 Summer School on National Minorities and Border Regions in the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati, Basque Country.

The challenges of minority protection in the digital age are multifold, especially since technologically wise this field is undergoing very fast developments.

If we are to discuss the role that minorities have through the Internet, it is important to take into account the fact that they are all premised on one specific and important rule of law and freedom of speech principle.

If we are operating in an environment that allows minorities to express themselves, then the opportunities become manifold.

At the same time, this being a field that is vastly growing and changing literally day by day, it is of the utmost importance to study very closely the different strategies that are being undertaken at the moment from minority groups to claim their rights and foster social change.

The Internet is a very challenging field from both an academic, but also a more political perspective, tas it comes with a lot of challenges and opened a lot of opportunities.

However, at the same time we have to remember that this is a space which encapsulates a number of dangers, particularly when it comes to democracy and the levels to maintain to have an adequate level of democracy that would allow minorities to claim space, claim rights, and claim identity through it and through the possibilities it offers.

Digital activism from a minority perspective is inherently connected to democracy. Democracy is obviously a multilateral, not only political, but also social game, where groups have to claim their space in more or less conflictual terms.

The digital scope is not free of those kinds of conflicts, and in particular calls for a lot of awareness when it comes to the role of states and governments. Indeed, they sometimes tend to hijack some of the available Internet tools and limit opportunities for activism, particularly from groups such as minority groups.

Nonetheless, this can happen also through the increasingly invasive tools that the Internet and the digital world offer in terms of mobilizing and circulating information.

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Coppieters Foundation is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the conferences, events or the opinions of the authors of our publications.

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