Everyone can see the marks from a beating, a punch in the face, a kick in the gut, but the marks words leave behind are close to invisible. The internet provides a playing field for the silent killers, to the words without a face, the words which are so much easier to utter because there seems to be no consequence. So, it may be of no surprise that it is now Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s leading internet provider, who is taking over the fight against hate speech online and cyber-mobbing, alongside DDB Hamburg. “We shouldn’t allow words to become weapons."
In 2020, Telekom launched a campaign against cyber mobbing and decided to take a stand in advocating for a digital space in which everyone and anyone can feel safe. The campaign, titled '#Dabei' - '#bepresent' in English - addresses the all-too-common problem that many kids and teens, but also adults, face in today’s 'life online'. The internet for many people is a place full of hatred and shit storms, some even fear for their lives. The campaign focuses on bringing these true lived stories of humiliation, hardships, and mobbing experiences in to the limelight.
In collaboration with DDB Hamburg, Mokoh Music contributed to the dark and moving film, produced by Markenfilm Hamburg, with a custom music piece to emphasise the hurt and loneliness that words can bring about.
A story of Jay, a transgender boy, whose transition process was constantly overshadowed with hurtful words, comments, and abuse. “You should just kill yourself”, “Everyone will always see that you are a woman”, “You’re disgusting”, “Someone should rape you”, “Isn’t your family ashamed?!”, “Back then they would’ve gassed you”, they would write.
Because of the pandemic that has been going on for most of 2020 the campaign and its cause didn’t get the attention they deserve, which is why we want to bring it back into the spotlight. Especially in the time of Coronavirus, the need for a fear free online experience has gained greater importance. Mokoh Music believes this is a matter everyone should be aware of and take responsibility for. In today’s world, online violence and violence through words are as dangerous, especially to the youth, and can cause long-term consequences for the victims.
Telekom is calling out for everyone to #bepresent in the fight against hate speech online. To make everyone see that the power of the internet is all too often used to turn against one another, to separate, exclude and even humiliate. But, also to remind everyone that the web can be a place that allows us to connect with one another and to bring people from all around the world together, to start movements and to help fight unitedly against social or political issues. It can be a force like no other.