Friday, January 13, 2012

Hate speech triggers hate crime

Yesterday, we provided an example of hate speech through the case of a media coverage of the arrested academic Büşra Ersanlı. And together with it, we addressed the issue of hate speech and Büşra Ersanlı's case as examples to illustrate the problems of the controversial press reform on GIT - North America.

Along those lines, we would like to draw your attention to a panel on hate speech held in Istanbul about two months ago. Similar to Ragıp Zarakolu who wrote from prison on the boundaries of free speech, during this panel, a discussion on the boundaries between hate speech and freedom of expression took place:

"Hate Speech and Freedom of Expression: Can we not say everything we want?" was the title of the first panel discussion as a start of a series of activities at the Meeting Against Hate Crimes in Istanbul on Saturday and Sunday (19/20 November). The meeting took place at the Dolapdere (Istanbul) campus of Bilgi University.

The panel discussion was attended by Prof Yasemin İnceoğlu from Galatasaray University; social anthropologist Ass. Prof Aykan Erdemir, Bursa deputy of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and former staff member of the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ); and journalist Pınar Öğünç from the nation-wide Radikal daily newspaper.

İnceoğlu stated at the beginning of her speech that the rhetoric of the media reproduced the rhetoric of the social power. She said that journalists became a part of the social power structure. İnceoğlu considered it a fundamental issue how journalists either reproduced the ideologies they encounter or took a stance against them. She emphasized the importance of how news were being made.

The academic said that hate speech was the origin of hate crime. 'It can be identified as the expression of intolerance that encourages and paves the way to hate crime. The targeted groups are being told that there is no place for them in society and this message is constantly renewed. This is a deprivation from the fundamental human rights to life and to participation', İnceoğlu explained."

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