PHARM is a European project funded by the European Union, within Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme REC-RRAC-RACI-AG-2019 (GA n. 875217). The main goal of Preventing Hate Against Refugees and Migrants (PHARM) is to monitor and model hate speech against refugees and migrants in Greece, Italy and Spain in order to predict and combat hate crime and also counter its effects using cutting-edge techniques, such as data journalism and narrative persuasion. The main result will be the identification and reduction of online hate speech, and the prediction of potential hate crimes.

PHARM will be developed in three European universities in three different countries, establishing a working network across the three European countries with most arrivals of migrants from the Mediterranean Sea: Italy, Greece and Spain.


The migration crisis has become a hot topic in the media, raising also a populist and nationalist wave in many countries. Southern European societies are most exposed to negative public representation of the asylum issue in public and political discourse, and in the last years there has been a general shift towards a securitisation of the public discourse on the both sides of the political spectrum.

There is a link between online hate speech and the increase of hate crime against this group. The changes in the public and political discourse, along with perceived negative effects of migration, a fear of the disruption of the local ethnic balance, and anxiety about arrival of people with apparent ties to terrorism, is leading to a gradual shift in hateful attitudes, opinions and behaviors towards refugees and migrants, that are clearly depicted in online hate speech and materialized in hate crimes.


The methodology of this proposal includes a set of activities developed across 5 interconnected work packages with the participation of the three members of the consortium (USAL, AUTH and UMIL). PHARM will first identify hate speech contents and understand how they can predict real hate crimes, and later it will use data-driven news pieces (with interactive journalistic data information created by journalists) and first-person testimonies (with dramatic, fictional and narrative structures) to counter hate speech.

PHARM will implement a conceptual and methodological common framework for large-scale analysis and detection of hate speech against refugees and migrants.

Based on an under-developing technical prototype, we will use Natural Language Processing and ML techniques to detect hate speech and store hateful contents, creating the most complete and articulated database of online hate speech in southern Europe, useful to pursue illegal hate speech, model its relationship with hate crime and create counter-narratives.

PHARM will then model hate crime based on the descriptive features of hate speech against refugees and migrants in order to predict future hate crime episodes.  We will create a database of hate crimes and will use cutting-edge ML algorithms to model the occurrence of physical/verbal aggressions against migrants and refugees.

PHARM will also create and disseminate counter-narrative fictional stories using narrative persuasion, and will evaluate its effects in countering the production of hate speech.

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