Hate speech internalized in Turkey, says ombudsman

Hate speech, sometimes referred to as hate propaganda or extreme speech, is widespread in the Turkish media — especially when the issues are minority rights, armed conflict and the European Union accession process, a recent study dissecting hate speech in the media has found.

“The provocative, racist and discriminatory language used in the news, and in particular in headlines and spots, become tools used in fuelling the enmity and polarization in society, while also affirming the stereotypes,” stated the study, titled “Hate speech and hate crimes: Wounding words and acts” and released by the Hrant Dink International Foundation, which organized a conference April 9-11 on the topic.

The study, which made public the results of the foundation’s study of the Turkish national press, looked into 24 newspapers with high levels of circulation, leaving aside their supplements.

Sabah newsroom ombudsman Yavuz Baydar, who made a presentation at the conference, told Sunday’s Zaman that he is not surprised that hate speech was even in the mainstream media.

“Because racism, ultranationalism and anti-Semitism are deeply internalized and common among opinion-makers and editors in Turkey. For years, the newspapers have operated in a milieu that allowed them to lash out with the fiercest rhetoric against other nationalities and creeds,” he said.

Read the full report in Zaman 

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