Annual Report on Activities for FY 2019

The following is a summary of activities discussed in the OHPI Directors Report prepared for our 2019 AGM. It reflects work undertaken between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019. The report itself contains further details on each section, which may be seen if you click for more information within each of the sections below.

The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) is Australia’s only Harm Prevention Charity dedicated to tackling hate in the online environment. We have been working in this space since our establishment in 2012 and have a well-documented track record in dealing with online hate and countering online extremism.

Read more about our background & development strategy

Bourke Street Attack – November 2018 (Report)

During the year OHPI published 3 reports on terror attacks. The Bourke Street Attack was the first of these and involved a man who crashed his car into shops in Bourke Street Melbourne, set it on fire and then attacked members of the public with a knife. Police sought to disarm him and when that failed he was shot in the chest and later died. The OHPI report looked at the way information was communicated through the media. The report also looked at how this information was used by individuals on social media to escalate a distrust and hatred towards the Muslim community.

Read more about our report on the Bourke Street Attack

New Zealand Terrorist Attack – March 2019 (Report)

The Online Hate Prevention Institute published an extensive analysis of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a lone gunman targeted two mosques, killing over 50 people. The report looked at the rise of online hatred towards the Muslim community in the lead-up to the event, the attacker’s use of the /pol/ message board to pre-release his manifesto, and how the gunman sought maximum coverage of his attack through direct video streaming.

Read more about our report on the New Zealand Terrorist Attack

San Diego Synagogue Attack – April 2019 (Report)

A little over a month after the terror attack on mosques in New Zealand, a similar event unfolded in San Diego, California. This time a Jewish Synagogue was the target. A lone gunman, radicalised through the /pol/ message board culture, posted his manifesto online and sought to live stream his attack through Facebook. OHPI created a report on this incident, looking at the increase of antisemitism online and the violent extremism it incites.

Read more about our report on the San Diego Synagogue Attack

Media Engagement

This past year, there has been a marked increase in the number of media requests for comments, statements & interviews with our Managing Director. There have been 32 media appearances during the financial year – through television, radio & print media. The media increasingly recognises OHPI as a specialist in the field, with the ability to explain sometimes complex issues to the public and to comment on emerging situations. Coverage included the Australian news agencies of ABC News, 7.30 Report, 10 Daily, Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Jewish News and J-Wire, along with the International reporting agencies of Radio Sputnik, Illinois Times, China Daily Global, Sputnik International, Novinska agencija Patria & TRT World.

Read more about our Media Engagement

International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

In Luxembourg on the 4th June 2019, Australia officially became the 33rd member state of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The Online Hate Prevention Institute played a crucial role in Australia’s admission. We have been leading a pilot project on behalf of the Australian Government’s delegation to deploy our online reporting system of Fight Against Hate – to tackle hate, Holocaust denial and Holocaust distortion. While the initial project involves Australia, Italy and Luxembourg, delegates from other countries have expressed interest in joining.

Read more about our involvement with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

Software Tools to Combat Online Hate

In the quest to combat online hate, our proprietary software continues to be one of OHPI’s greatest assets. The monitoring software of Fight Against Hate and its related CSI-CHAT analysis tool are at the forefront of much of our work to reduce online hate and increase community resilience. This year saw the software configured for the first time for use in foreign languages.

Read more about the use of our software in the fight against hate

Deakin Cyber-Racism Project

The Deakin Cyber-Racism Project is a joint venture between Deakin University and OHPI and aims to provide Fight Against Hate gateways to a range of different community organisation. We have already begun an education and training program to tackle online hate through faith-based groups and have launched a pilot program in collaboration with the Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria). The Train the Trainer program will produce trained facilitators within local communities.

Read more about our involvement in the Deakin Cyber-Racism Project

Instructional Video

As part of our work to educate people in utilising the Fight Against Hate software, we have facilitated the production of a short instructional video. We engaged a team of students from La Trobe University Department of Communication and Media’s Creative Agency. The students have worked on the video as a practical component to their studies.

Read more about the production of an instruction video

Published Reports & Briefings

During the 2019 financial year, OHPI published 3 major reports and 27 briefings. The reports provided a detailed examination of 3 terrorist attacks. The terror attack in Bourke Street, Melbourne, an attack on mosques in Christchurch, and a synagogue attack in San Diego. There has been an increase in the number of briefings shared by OHPI in 2019 resulting in over double the number of responses to the previous year. The 27 briefings each took an in-depth look at an item of online hate and were published through our website. Two particular briefings received a large number of comments/shares & Facebook reactions. These were “The Impact on Islamophobia: OHPI in UK Parliamentary Report” on December 11th 2018 and a briefing on the New Zealand Terrorist Attack from 16th March this year. The publishing of 27 briefings, shared over 2,800 times in total, has helped to stimulate debate around the prevention of harm from online hate.

Online Engagement

OHPI continues to have a significant online presence. Our Facebook page has remained steady at around 24,000 supporters for the third year in a row. A significant extension to our online program this year has been our live feed of video postings via Facebook. Video recordings of conferences and memorial services have added a new dimension to the content shared with our Facebook followers. Our Twitter continues to grow with 119 Tweets and 892 followers. These Tweets were mostly from engagement at conferences and events where we have live tweeted. Our website was viewed by over 21,500 people during the financial year.

Read more about our engagement through Facebook, Twitter and Website

The Christchurch Call

Following the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, there has been a call for urgent action to eliminate terrorism and violent extremist content online. A number of national governments, including the Australian Government, have signed up to the Christchurch Call. As part of our mission, the Online Hate Prevention Institute is in the prime position to perform a crucial role. We have a specific mandate to fight online hate and are dedicated to partnerships with government & online service providers in finding solutions to this threat.

With increasing awareness & concern at the rise of extremism fuelled through the internet, many are now seeking urgent answers. There is a clear call for action in the fight against online hate and extremism. The work of the Online Hate Prevention Institute is needed now more than ever.

For OHPI to remain sustainable, and able to produce the sort of impact demonstrated above, we need your help. If you can, please join our regular supporters to help us grow in a sustainable way. We’ve demonstrated what we can do over almost 7 years now. With your support we can keep doing it. The problem of online hate is growing and is now more urgent than ever. Your support makes a real difference.

Spread the Word & Stay in Touch

The best way to stay in touch with us is to join our mailing list. You can also join our 24,000+ fans by liking our Facebook page. We are also on Twitter @onlinehate. Please do take a moment to share this report with others and spread the word.