Unicef Generation event in Rome | Photo: ANSA/Unicef
Unicef Generation event in Rome | Photo: ANSA/Unicef

A survey conducted with 300 young migrants and refugees in Italy via the online platform UNICEF U-Report on the Move revealed that 54% of those surveyed had never heard of hate speech and fake news.

Interviewing a total of 300 young migrants and refugees in Italy, UNICEF has conducted an extensive survey on hate speech, discrimination, and xenophobia in Italy via its online platform U-Report on the Move — a digital platform in use by UNICEF in Italy to give a voice to migrants and refugees. 

The survey found that 54% of young migrants and refugees in Italy had never heard of hate speech and so-called fake news, or any other kind of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional news media or online social media.

Four out of ten respondents think that TV, newspapers, and social media generally portray a negative image on migration; while six out of ten said this attitude influences viewers' and readers' thinking.
The results of the survey were presented on Saturday at the UNICEF Generation event in Rome's Piazza del Popolo during a talk with journalist as well as UNICEF Italy Goodwill Ambassador Myrta Merlino and Italian Senator Liliana Segre.

Data on discrimination and xenophobia

The survey's results on discrimination and xenophobia are worth taking a closer look: Three in ten respondents said they had suffered from some form of discrimination, and seven in ten respondents said the discrimination was based on their skin color.

Furthermore, respondents said discrimination happened mainly on the streets, at school and in the place where they lived. Four out of ten young migrants and refugees said they felt rejected when they arrived in Italy.

When they  experienced fear on others' part, which they said happened half of the time, 57% said they felt sad, 12% said they were angry and 10% afraid, while 21% said they didn't view it as cause for concern.

Six in ten people surveyed said they are aware of their right to be protected against all forms of discrimination, leaving four in ten responding they were not aware that they can and must be protected from discrimination and from all forms of violence.

Concern over still-existing disparities in Italy

Non-discrimination is recognized as one of the main principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is widely considered one of the main challenges in today's society.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recently expressed strong concerns over the disparities that still exist in Italy in access to public services and the prevalence of negative attitudes about minors based on their status and origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

It further issued recommendations to the Italian government, including suggestions that it should make an effort to guarantee full protection against all forms of discrimination through the adoption of urgent measures to face the existing disparities on a regional level.

It also highlighted that Italy needed to take incisive action to prevent and fight acts of discrimination and marginalization against all minors equally. "In recent years we have seen an increase in recognized cases of racism and discrimination, including against children and adolescents," said Anna Riatti, UNICEF Italy coordinator for the child and adolescent migrant and refugee program.

"One of the most widespread things is incitement to hatred on the web, which tends to be based on populist and xenophobic discourse without any scientific or objective foundation," she said.

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