The Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV) expressed on Tuesday concern over the hate speech which is extremely widespread in the Serbian media and which is primarily directed against Croats and Croatia, as well as towards Albanians from Kosovo, reports tportal.hr on November 14, 2017.
The “Liber” Centre for New Media has conducted a study, analyzing 16 printed, electronic, online and agency media outlets, and concluding that “extremist speech is present in one-fourth of all news published by the most popular media in Serbia,” and that its only intention is to “emphasise the drama and sensationalism at all costs, with accompanying spread of fear and feelings of insecurity and intolerance.”
“The monitored media are dominated by the spread of feelings of intolerance towards Croatia and Croats, as well as Albanians from Kosovo. It is not uncommon for many Croats to be called “Ustashas,” according to the study published on Tuesday.
The DSHV has corroborated the conclusions of the study with data from the Commission for Monitoring Breaches of Minority Rights of the Croatian National Council, which in 2016 recorded 311 negative media articles about Croats and Croatia.
“In the media, members of the Croatian people are often called “Ustashas,” resulting in the creation of an additional sense of fear among members of the Croatian national minority in Serbia and the province of Vojvodina. This is an especially worrying because, at the same time, there is a lack of news and articles which would inform the public about the rights of members of national minorities and cultural diversity. This is a particularly sensitive issue for Croats since events of the 1990s have to be taken into account,” the DSHV said.
Another major problem is that the issue of hate speech and intolerance in Serbian media is tackled by non-governmental organisations and activists, while relevant Serbian state and scientific institutions rarely get involved.
“On the other hand, we also point out that the spread of intolerance towards the Croat people and their homeland is increasingly coming not just from extremist groups, but also from distinguished members of the Serbian establishment and members of Parliament. We remind everybody that hate speech is a dangerous social deviation which is aimed at spreading feelings of insecurity, fear and intolerance, and which often results in physical violence and in isolating individuals from the social life of the community, and with denying their identity, which, unfortunately, members of the Croatian community in Serbia can personally testify about,” the DSHV said.
It is concluded that such negative social phenomena “certainly should not have a place in a society which wants to be a member of a larger European family that is based on values such as democracy, diversity, tolerance and solidarity.”
Translated from tportal.hr.