Studying the Role of Internet Technologies in Gender Based Violence

What’s the role of Internet technologies in facilitation or prevention of gender based violence (GBV) in Bulgaria and how can Internet communication reverse the dominant anti-gender rights attitudes will analyze an expert research team led by BlueLink. The wide research aims to understand how to challenge the anti-gender backlash in Bulgaria with the means of internet communication and build capacity of civil society groups and institutions for overcoming it.

Anti-gender propaganda is widespread in Bulgaria and GBV is widely considered as legitimate. Persons and organisations who stand for gender rights are frequently labelled “liberasts” , “tolerasts” or “eurogays”. Mainstream mass media and online networks amplify voices who inflict intolerance, misogyny and homophobia and suppress their opponents. The Internet plays a key role in the propaganda backlash that swept across Bulgaria’s public sphere in regards to the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention against gender-based violence (GBV). Gender-phobic hate speech is spread through various online channels, including social networks and online media. Social networks are used as a main channel for a heavy attacks and hate speech against activists supporting the Convention, and women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.

The current  research will try to find how internet technologies facilitate or prevent GBV in Bulgaria; and how dominant anti-gender rights attitudes could be reversed with the help of internet communication. It will make sure to present real stories and voices through interviews and meetings with key stakeholders, giving opportunity of marginalised groups to be heard as well.

The research is held by an expert team including of BlueLink, Media Democracy Foundation, Gender Alternatives Foundation and independent experts. It is held as a part of the project “After the Storm: How to restore policy dialogue and supportive discourse against GBV online in Bulgaria”, implemented by BlueLink within the APC “Feminist Internet Research Network” project, supported by the International Development Research Centre. The duration of the project is 10 May 2019 - 31 May 2020.


This work forms part of the APC “Feminist Internet Research Network” project, supported by
the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of IDRC or its Board of Governors.