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No Borders Project reports on monitoring of hate speech in Ukrainian media in 2014

Throughout 2014, the No Borders Project monitored hate speech in Ukrainian media. Results of the monitoring were presented on 28 November 2015 at a round table that brought together civil society experts, journalists, and representatives of the UNHCR and the OSCE.

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The report is available here (in Ukrainian).

Monitoring included review and analysis of materials from the news agency feeds, national online media, national print media, and news programs of central TV channels. There were 424 instances of hate speech indicated, with the highest number recorded in March-April 2014.

During the monitoring period, hate speech was used against 45 groups in accordance with characteristics of ethnicity, religious views, gender, nationality, sexual orientation and gender identity, regional origin, family status, and social status. These also include groups that are often targets of stereotypes but have no definition outside of imagination of the person using the stereotype. One such example is “people with Eastern appearance”, which was mentioned in a negative connotation without any reference to particular characteristics.

The largest number of hate speech instances were recorded in relation to Ukrainians. The second group was Russians who were mentioned in the context of ethnicity (primarily through derogatory ethnonyms), as well as identified through words like “Russians” (‘rosiyany’ or ‘russkie’) used for citizens of Russia or Russians by origin.

 

The third group was Chechens. Mentions of “chechens” as members of armed groups in the anti-Ukrainian side of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine served to distinguish this group among conflict pariticpants. They were also accompanied by generalizations about the entire ethnic group based on actions of individuals, as well as by outright prejudice.

Distinguishing “people of Caucasian [as in Caucasus] origin” was also in the top five by frequency of mentions. In most cases, there were no further explanations or clarifications provided as to specific ethnic identity or nationality.

Hate speech against the LGBT community was also in the top five. We should note that, unlike in relation to other groups, journalists generated hate speech more rather than citing other people.

Dynamics of hate speech by types of media outlets is in correlation with social processes. Therefore, both for online media, and also for print and TV, the background bears significance rather than the type of media. For instance, changes in the number and forms of hate speech in all types of media followed the same tendencies.

It is important to note that media reflect the situation in society, supports and enhances certain social trends. During times of hardship, media can play an important role in supporting and increasing social tensions. Focusing on hate speech among representatives of different circles, social groups or states can be important for the audience. However, often it becomes the top news and leads to escalation of conflict.

To combat hate speech, one needs to assess the scale and causes of the problem. Therefore, No Borders Project presents this report to take a look at the problem from a distance and, having time and experience, analyze the trends of hate speech use both in light of professional standards, and also its influence on relations in society.

 

The publications were developed for the project “Hate speech and bias in Ukrainian media: monitoring, analysis and prevention” supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine.

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