Hatred in Everyday Life in Serbia

Date: 28 February 2018

Country: Serbia, Belgrade

CZKD_Belgrade_Feb_2018_IvanaThe Media Diversity Institute (MDI) Western Balkans organised a debate on hate speech in a public discourse in Serbia. „Discrimination and hate speech have became part of public life. Both traditional and digital media as powerful influencers, often contribute to the forming of hateful attitude, particularly among young people. Therefore it is important to discuss the issue of hate speech, the role of the media, as well as the bounderies between freedom of expression and hate speech,“ MDI Westwern Balkans Director Ivana Jelaca said at the opening of the debate on 28 February in CZKD in Belgrade.

Discussing why the media are one of the main producers and promoters of hate speech, Jovanka Matic, Research Associate at Institute for Social Science, explained that hate speech in Serbia today is different than hate speech in Serbia during the Yugoslav wars and the crisis during 90s.

“The main problem of the Serbian society today is that it accepted hate speech. In the 90s there was hate speech everywhere, but there was also a big part of the CZKD_Belgrade_Feb_2018_Jovankasociety that was fighting agianst it,“ Jovanka Matic said. Journalist Antonela Riha added that Serbia today is not faced with wars, refugees, sanctions and isolation. „But it is facing hate speech preveiling not only in the media as it was the case in 90s, but also amongst politicians and public figures,” Riha said.

Film Director Stevan Filipovic talked about the stereotype of where does the hate speech come from. „There is a stereotype in the Serbian society about hate speech coming mostly from people from poorer and disadvantaged background. That is a very dangerous stereotype that needs to be deconstructed,“ Filipovic explained.

You can watch the whole discussion at CZKD here.

The moderator of the debate was a journalist Ljubica Gojgic.

MDI Western Balkans organised the debate as part of the project #YouthAgainstHate supported by  OSCE Mission to Serbia.