The 18th annual Open Society Forum is under way at the Nordic Hotel Forum in Tallinn today, this time focusing on hate speech and calling on media outlets to seek solutions for putting an end to hateful and defamatory internet comments.
Organizers of the forum, which includes speeches in both Estonian and English, said Estonia's celebrated Internet freedoms have unfortunately led to a situation where everyday life is given a negative tone by the comment sections of online media outlets.
"We are in a unique position in Europe because nowhere else can people enjoy the Internet freedom that we have. Unfortunately, this is also accompanied by negative trends because hate speech has been given a venue for unrestricted growth," said Open Estonia Foundation director Mall Hellam.
The forum's keynote speaker was Open Society Initiative for Europe director Jordi Vaquer.
Many other experts are chiming in. Earlier today, columnist Abdul Turay, Estonian Refuge Council director Kristina Kallas and ERR journalist Neeme Raud discussed intolerant sentiment toward foreigners in Estonia.
Linnar Viik, an IT expert and Open Estonian Foundation supervisory board chairman, led a discussion on whether hate speech should be punishable.
Other speakers include media expert Raul Rebane, University of Tartu journalism professor Tiit Hennoste, and Delfi editor in chief Urmo Soonvald and Postimees co-editor in chief Anvar Samost.