There are numerous examples of “patriotic” speech in the media-political party smear campaign against the “sorosoids“, intending to incite hatred towards NGOs and activists who openly criticize the authorities.
(Second part of the analysis: Hate towards the internal “enemies”)
Written by: Zarko Trajanoski, MA in Human Rights
“The person who uses media for mass communication must be aware that it is he/she who bears the responsibility when calling for protests or another type of mass action against another party in the event of violence and cannot be protected with the right to freedom of expression.” (Roberto Belichanec “Black Book“)
The first part of this analysis indicates that the “patriotic” hate speech is often used as an instrument by pro-government politicians, journalists or columnists for psychological violence against critics of the current government.
There was a classic case of patriotic hate speech inciting violence against activists in March 2009, when a pro-government journalist called for a counter-protest on his blog against “a group of gays and atheists” who “will try to spread gibberish under the guise of worrying about the architecture of the city, and against the church.” Such inflammatory speech sparked violence against activists by the “patriotic mob” shouting “gays, atheists, Shiptars… ”
It was symptomatic that the media instigators of ethnic and religious tensions were publicly accusing activists (victims of violence and hate speech) for causing tensions and divisions, while emphasizing their “non-Macedonian” ethnicity.
The Council of Honor of AJM condemned the hate speech in the show “Jadi Burek” as a brutal crackdown on opponents through the media, getting worrisome proportions: “What Dragan Pavlovic – Latas said in the “Jadi Burek” show, mentioning someone’s nationality as a disqualification, using personal threats, and calls for others to react in the same manner, was a classic example of “speech that expresses and produces hatred.” The Council of Honor cannot accept journalists being granted the role of instigators of violence.” (March 31, 2009 – Reaction to the show “Jadi Burek”).
HATE SPEECH TOWARDS “SOROSOIDS”
“You set up a container, write “traitors and mercenaries” on it and you start dumping everyone that bothers you or criticizes you, while ensuring that the public must recognize that you do this to “preserve the national interest and dignity.” (Roberto Belichanec, “Black Book“)
There are numerous examples of “patriotic” speech in the media-political party smear campaign against the “sorosoids”, intending to incite hatred towards NGOs and activists who openly criticize the authorities.
“Sorosoids” presented as spies
The article of VMRO-DPMNE: “Sorosoids” are spying on the work of the Council for European Integration implies that the terms “Sorosoids” and “spying” are used by a political party, although these terms are found only in the title of the article, which is indicative of a biased and negative presentation of critics as “spies” and “domestic traitors”.
“Sorosoids” presented as “terrorists” and “mercenaries” destroying journalism
The titles “Sorosoids terrorizing journalism” and “Journalists attacked by Soros’ mercenaries” are a classic example of an attack on critics who have warned of the threat to the right to freedom of expression.
The article “The money from Soros is constantly contaminating the media space” is a classic example of inventing “scapegoats”. Namely, some of the critics were deemed to be the main culprits for the negative grades for freedom of expression in Macedonia, although they were warning that press freedom is threatened with the government propaganda and the hate speech of the pro-government media.
The column “Sorosoids” presents them as people who are threatening the freedom of expression of the author – an internationally recognized instigator of hate speech who compiles lists of traitors and enemies.
“Sorosoids” presented as thugs using threats and as instigators of crimes
In the article “Branko’s Sorosoids are using photocopies to hold the entire nation in fear“, the journalist is blaming the “sorosoids” for “a spying affair based on a staged photocopy, and after the photocopy was disproved by the Ministry of Interior in written, they are relativizing official documents of state institutions, in this particular case the Ministry of Interior.” Sorosoids accused of “knowingly violating the law and human rights, and holding the entire nation in fear with that demonstration of power.”
In the article “Sorosoids calling for the burning of the Israeli Embassy,” all “Sorosoids” are presented as instigators of violence, based on a false generalization. The propaganda generalization is based on a comment on the social networks from a person that is groundlessly deemed a “radical Sorosoid”.
The article “SOROSoids” encouraging Roma people to commit tax evasion crime” is a propaganda attempt for labeling Roma protesters as “Sorosoids” who were allegedly incited to “commit the crime of tax evasion” and “interethnic tensions”. The propaganda text “Sorosoids played dirty everywhere, even in America” is illustrated with a photograph on which the photograph of the director of “Open Society Foundation Macedonia” and the American flag are scribbled over. In the text, full of slander and innuendo, no activity of the Macedonian Foundation is mentioned.
Sorosoids presented as “para-state authority” and a “gang”
At a first glance, the conspiracy theories, as in the titles “Sorosoids have more money, and are even more powerful than the government” and “Sorosoids ruling in Centar – a para-state government in the center of Skopje” do not resemble hate speech. However, one gets a completely different impression when reading the posted comments below the articles, containing classic examples of dehumanization (“Soro-scum-aids”) and open calls for violence (“treacherous heads will roll, lynch for the enemies among our own people…”).
The propaganda text “SDSM doesn’t care about the lustration, sorosoids are making the moves” is a classic example of a media attack on the “Sorosoid gang” and on specific individuals who were illegally lustrated for publicly criticizing the authorities.
“Sorosoids” as “traitors of the name”
“The core of the hate speech is the division to WE, US, part of which is the person who is using this speech and the ones who share the same views, and THEY, THEM, THE OTHERS to whom that speech is directed. When it comes to hate speech, there is no tolerance, no respect for THE OTHER and for his differences, regardless of whether the differences are of religious, political, ethnic, sexual, linguistic and cultural or any other nature. Hate speech aims to incite hatred towards the different ones, those who do not belong in the WE group.” (Handbook for ethics in journalism)
The article “GEM experts” are ‘resolving’ the name dispute for 310,000 euros!” is a classic example of smear journalism intending to encourage “patriotic” hate speech towards the “traitors”. In fact, it can also be noticed in the published comments (edited by the media) and directed against “soulless people”, “freaks and slimy creatures”, “scum”, “fester”, “traitors and turncoats”…
The column in “Vecer” is a classic example of defamatory “patriotic” hate speech towards the “Sorosoids” presented as snitches and mercenaries who are “pushing the Greek offer” (“they are spending five million euros annually on their propaganda”). The author positively presents himself as part of the majority, and the victims of his hate speech as part of the minority: “…in all of the bright moments and highlights of my country during the last two decades, I was with the majority of my people. They were not.”
The “we – they” discourse of division is a distinctive mark of “patriotic” hate speech. The “Sorosoids” from GEM (i.e. “they”) are presented as informers, mercenaries and agents of foreign interests, whereas the author positions himself as part of the majority, i.e. “we” – as a journalist-patriot defending the “name and identity”: “Let them know: I don’t mind if we have a different name for international use. But in my house, I want to be myself – a Macedonian, in Macedonia, speaking Macedonian.”
Paradoxically and tragicomically, the comments below the patriotic text contain calls for violence against the “fifth column parasites”, but not against the “patriot” who doesn’t mind having another name for international use.”