Strasbourg, 12 July 2013 - In his letter – below – Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland asks for Mr. Zuckerberg's support to fight hate speech against Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who survived a gunshot by the Taliban and is still facing threats against her life. She marks her 16th birthday today by delivering a speech at the UN headquarters in New York as part of her campaign to ensure free compulsory education for every child.
"Dear Mr Zuckerberg,
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who survived a gunshot to the head by the Taliban is a symbol of hope and inspiration for millions of people around the world.
Sadly, Malala’s yearning for the right to education is not shared by all, as her address today at the United Nations has provoked insults and threats against her, including on Facebook.
We at the Council of Europe – an organisation of 47 countries dedicated to human rights – consider freedom of expression an essential pillar of democracy.
The Council of Europe appreciates Facebook, as it provides a platform for dialogue and positive change throughout the world. On her Facebook page, Malala courageously proclaims: “They will not stop me. I will get my education if it is in home, school, or any place.”
But we worry about inciting hatred and violence on the Internet. For that reason, we launched our No Hate Speech Movement.
We cannot tolerate incitement to hatred and violence against Malala.
As Secretary General of the Council of Europe, I invite to you to say NO to such hatred.
Let us celebrate Malala Day today, with pride for her bravery and strength, support for her cause and a shared commitment to fight intolerance and hatred online".