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Czech Republic: Analysis finds online hate rising, adult males perpetrate the most

13.4.2016 13:24
(PHOTO:  pixabay.com)
(PHOTO: pixabay.com)

During 2015 a noticeable growth occurred in the amount of hate speech on Czech-language online social networks and other communications platforms such as discussion forums linked to articles on news servers. Those are the results of an analysis produced by the People in Need (Člověk v tísni) called "Hate Speech in the Online Environment and Social Networks" (Projevy nenávisti v online prostoru a sociálních sítích).

The analysis describes the basic socio-demographics of those who create and disseminate hate speech and the mechanisms for how they spread such speech during the period from June to September 2015. During that period, hateful discourse reacted to the growing wave of migration to Europe from countries in Africa and the Middle East.

On the other hand, hate speech against migrants and refugees from other regions such as post-Soviet countries or Southeast Asia occurred to just a minimal extent. A substantial part of the content of this speech involves hoaxes about Muslims in particular.

The analysis reveals that comments and posts on the topic of migration dominated on Facebook (88 000 commentaries, or approximately 56 % of all posts analyzed), followed by remarks on the topic of Islam and Muslims (49 000 commentaries, or approximately 31 % of the posts analyzed). A similar situation prevailed in the summer of 2015 in the discussions posted beneath articles on news websites.

The tone of the discussions is what primarily constitutes a warning sign. Approximately 80 % of the remarks on the topic of Islam and Muslims involved content ranging from the negative to the hateful, and 62 % of the remarks about migrants ranged from the negative to the hateful as well.

The biggest group of "hate speakers" on Facebook, according to the analysis, is comprised of men between the ages of 30 and 50 with a high school education only. Neither youth under 30, nor seniors over 60, nor the socially excluded and unemployed are greatly represented among them.

In addition to insecure, untrustworthy online portals, the established mass media also play a role in disseminating hate speech through online social networks. Last but not least, especially in the Facebook environment, a role is played by the media's practice of emphasizing shocking headlines.

There is also more of an emphasis on news that is reported either negatively or with more of an emotional tinge to it overall on Facebook. "Social networks amplify and distort news from the mass media, and apparently innocent articles can easily be placed into contexts that were never intended during hateful discussions online," explains Matouš Hrdina, the media coordinator for People in Need.

bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Člověk v tísni, Internet, Nenávist, Sociální sítě, Výzkum



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