The analysis of five daily newspapers in Serbia, carried out by the Centre for Intercultural Communication (CINK) in Novi Sad, showed that hate speech directed at political opponents and members of other nations dominates the news, while the same phenomenon against the LGBT population and refugees is reportedly decreasing.
The four newspapers (Informer, Kurir, Večernje Novosti and Alo) have been systematically inciting to hatred as part of their editorial policy, while the fifth newspaper observed, Blic, stands out from the aforementioned dailies. This was said during the online debate ‘How to recognise incitement to hatred and how to combat it’, which presented the conclusions of the analysis conducted in February and March this year.
CINK researcher Milorad Đurić pointed out that the characteristic feature of the four newspapers that regularly use hate speech is that they have a “fairly harmonised editorial policy”, so one can speak of “obvious editorial orchestration”.
He warned that incitement of hatred against other nations was mainly found in articles about neighbouring countries, but that it also indirectly put pressure on members of national minorities living in Serbia.
Culturologist Aleksandra Đurić Bosnić of the Centre for Intercultural Communication said that incitement to hatred in our media is normalised and represents a “destructive phenomenon” that produces a “divided and imprisoned society” as well as “generates violence”.
“Incitement of hatred leads to division in society, division into ‘us’ and ‘them’, which constantly produces internal conflicts that can degenerate into open violence,” she added.
Đurić Bosnić also stated that the dominance of hate speech “corresponds to the type of autocratic government present” that in fact generates it. Psychologist Bojana Bodroža said that the predominance of hate speech in public reduces people’s ability to recognise hate speech and understand what catastrophic consequences it leaves on society.
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