We are witnessing a worrying situation in which the diary of insults leads to hate speech, whether in the media or on social networks. Arguments discussion or presentation of views on various political or social issues, almost completely gave way to mutual insults, humiliating, vulgar and aggressive statements, which threatens to erase the line between ordinary speech and hate speech, said Commissioner for Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic in her closing remarks at the end of an expert meeting for the media dedicated to the fight against discrimination and hate speech, organized by the Council of Europe, which was attended by representatives of REM, UNS and printed and electronic media.
Almost everyone is targeted – from politicians and journalists, through non-governmental organizations and public figures, to the most prominent athletes. However, the media and politicians, who by the nature of things have the greatest influence on public opinion, are now becoming targets as well as promoters of insults, disqualifications and even hate speech. The atmosphere in public space contributes to the generation of various types of violence and we should all be aware of how short is the path from verbal threats and conflicts, through hate speech, to escalation into open physical violence.
Hate speech and degrading and insulting behavior are prohibited by law, but it is necessary to more effectively suppress and prevent such phenomena that leave long-term consequences on the whole society. Respect for the law by all social actors, which implies a unique condemnation of every hate speech, leads to the necessary change of the social paradigm and the creation of an environment in which different opinions and dissenters are respected, concluded Commissioner Jankovic.