State, Corporate & Individual Initiatives


At society’s higher levels, large and public institutions like the state and traditional media exert tremendous power in shaping public discourse and behavior, as the case studies in this website have demonstrated.

Given their influence, these institutions bear a great responsibility to be vigilant about and proactive in preventing atrocity speech.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."

– François-Marie Arouet (pen name “Voltaire”), Questions sur Les Miracles, in 8 Oeuvres Completes de Voltaire (Chez Furne 1836), p. 691



Hierarchical organisations that possess a legitimate right to threaten or deploy violence in the service of the state – i.e., the police and the military – bear a particular burden to avoid atrocity speech.

These organizations must be able to train their own members that certain types of rhetoric can amount to the types of atrocity speech addressed in this website.

Example: The Media and Kenya’s Post-Election Violence



Traditional media organizations — meaning television, radio, and newspapers — are similarly powerful.

For example, in the cases of Rwanda and Bosnia described elsewhere in this website, radio and television amplified the rhetoric that fueled atrocities. But the media can become a vehicle for discrediting harmful speech while promoting positive alternative discourse. Media watchdogs can play an important role in highlighting transgressions and holding the media to account. For example, the Switzerland-based non-governmental organization Fondation Hirondelle has established local projects that perform both of these roles in several post-conflict settings.

Example: Rising Hate Speech in Indian Media Outlets

Incendiary Speech from Yati Narsinghanand (India)

Source video uploaded to YouTube by The Quint.

Genocide Watch’s Greg Stanton Expresses
Concern over Hate Speech in India

Genocide Watch executive director Greogry Stanton sounded the alarm in early 2022. Source video uploaded to YouTube by Justice for All.