Respect Zone is an NGO launched in Paris in November, 2014, after two Parisian teenagers witnessed online bullying in their classroom. They responded by setting up a non profit association. During the annual Paris Games Week, the teenagers launched a new Respect Zone label, supported by prominent French bloggers.
Respect Zone now is a protected label and registered as a non-profit association in France. It combats bullying, hate, discrimination, racism, antisemitism, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, sexism, homophobia and incitement to violence. While supporting free expression, it has devised an effective and open labeling system to advance moderation, tolerance and respect by mean of counter speech.
In February 2015, on Safer Internet Day, Respect Zone ran a PR/media campaign based on its TV film “One minute of silence against cyber violence.” Success was immediate. We generated 19 press articles, 165 online citations stories on 17 television and 10 radio stations. In 2016, Respect Zone ran a campaign against cyberbullying called “Unicorns vs Haters” aimed at outing haters. Respect Zone and Respect Zone workshops are now offered at 1,500 schools in France (for children aged 11-18) thanks to its partnership with the Ministry of Education and NGO ‘Génération Numérique.’
Today, Respect Zone is supported by French financing and French donations. Our annual report issued in French in February 2015 offers details.
With European funding, Respect Zone aims to build on its success inside France – and become an influential European-wide organization combating cyber-violence. European Union funding will allow us to open branches in a dozen additional member states, including a large number of schools across the continent. It will also permit the organization to beef up its tools, conduct communications campaigns and organize events promoting tolerance and online respect across the European Union.The benefits of bringing Respect Zone outside of France to a broad European audience are clear. Our project has worked in France. It supports counterspeach. It strikes a positive balance between free speech and responsible speech. We are confident, given the opportunity, that Respect Zone will work throughout Europe. Even more important, we believe that the creating an effective, powerful anti-hate speech movement across Europe will reinforce the messages of tolerance and trust between Europeans.