What impact can the hate speech used in the media have on society?
The question was discussed during a Tbilisi-hosted media conference organized by German Deutsche Welle Academy which brought together media professionals of the region.
Addressing the conference participants, Arif Aliyev, Chairman of the Yeni Nesil Journalists’ Union of Azerbaijan, said one of the commonalities of Armenian and Azerbaijani media is that there are a lot of unfounded stereotypes about each other, even in matters which are not related to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. “Certain opinions and articles Azerbaijanis read in Armenian press sometimes cause laughter or insult,” he said.
“Being aware of the sector, I can say that Armenian readers are experiencing the same feelings when reading our articles,” he continued. “Of course, this does not mean that there is a lack of objective information about each other, this is resulted by an excess of ideology and stereotypes.”
A second civil servant, who did not want to introduce himself in front of a camera, focused on the difference between generations of journalists. “The young generation is eager to have a dialogue. The generation that witnessed the war or became refugees is already aging. I read a comment recently which said, “My father was born and raised there, and I would like to be there.” It is very important.”
My interlocutor continues. “There is a generation that bears the offense of their ancestors, and they have the image of the enemy inside them, but they do not know who and what they are fighting against.”
He says in Azerbaijan there are journalists who claim that those are Azerbaijani lands and Armenia should return them. The hostile speech and hate language are felt here, yet, there are many others who say they do not want more losses and victims. “If the presidents have been able to negotiate for so many years, I believe that common people will be able to reach an agreement,” he said.
The survey conducted by Georgia’s Media Development Foundation suggests that hate language in Georgian press does not save Russians, Americans, and even the country’s once-friendly neighbours. “Georgian media is filled with hatred towards Russians, specifically Putin,” it said.
The rudest expression in the country was made by Rustaveli – “They [Russians] are all pigs.”
Yerevan Press Club in collaboration with Yeni Nesil has monitored hate speech in media. The research shows that Europeans’ efforts to get rid of stereotypes and clichés are not enough.
For more details watch the video.