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FIA releases white paper on online abuse
By Jason Craig
Friday 3rd March, 2023 - 11:06am
The publication of a new white paper from world motorsport’s governing body around online abuse “further underlines” its commitment to addressing the problem, it has been claimed.
Described as a “significant milestone” by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), it has been drawn up in an attempt to tackle what it says has become “a blight on global sport”.
Produced as part of a research programme under the auspices of the FIA University, findings were shown at the World Motor Sport Council Strategy Meeting in Bahrain yesterday. It has also been circulated to the FIA’s 241 Member Clubs that operate in a total of 146 countries.
Entitled ‘A Strategic Response To Online Hate Speech In Sport’, the document sets out the “sustained and collaborative approach” the FIA is set to adopt in “confronting online toxicity” given that it’s “reached intolerable levels” and affects participants, officials and volunteers.
It is the work of industry experts, government bodies and academic partners including Ulster University’s Dr David Hassan, an associate dean of the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem first raised the FIA’s pledge at an event in Italy last December in which he called for a collaborative approach. This has since led to partnerships being forged with the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme.
Initial talks have also taken place with Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee President and FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Consultations with social media publishers has also been high on the agenda
The white paper reveals that across the European Union, some 80 percent of people who agreed to be surveyed confirmed they had encountered some form of online hate, with 40 percent of those took part claiming they had been left frightened or threatened by postings they’d read online.
“Our white paper further underlines the FIA’s commitment to confronting online abuse,” said Ben Sulayem.
“With the support of the European Commission and other sporting governing bodies, we’re emboldened by a combined determination to bring about meaningful change through concrete action. Sustained online toxicity has reached deplorable levels.
“We will no longer tolerate FIA volunteers, officials, employees and drivers being subjected to this extreme abuse. It has no place in our sport and if it continues it could destroy it. We’ll take a collaborative approach in combatting this scourge on our sport and others,” he added.
“We want everyone – the teams, drivers, media and fans – to play their part. Only through collaborative action, can we bring about behavioural change. We are united against abuse. This journey has only just begun.”
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