Helsinki Committee: Hate speech during pandemic

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The Helsinki Committee informs that 110 cases of hate speech were registered in March, which is 100% more for the same period last year. Most of the cases registered in March concerned the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, and this is dominated by reports on the basis of ethnicity and political affiliation, according to the Helsinki Committee.

Most of the cases concern the introduction of a state of emergency by the President and thus the curfew, as well as the reaction of the public related to the measures taken by the Government.

“Most digital traffic and thus social media reactions have been observed after the official press conferences of the Minister of Health on behalf of the Crisis Staff,” the Helsinki Committee said.

Therefore, they point out that most of the applications (or 72 percent) refer to two categories, ethnicity and political affiliation. Applications for political affiliation were not as high as last year during the presidential election. Also, 21 reports, or 18 percent, refer to hate speech due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

“The high number of uncharacteristic charges is due to the declaration of a state of emergency in the country to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. There has also been an active negative discussion and exchange of negative tones between supporters of the ruling and opposition parties, especially over how the country is coping with the crisis (both from a health and economic point of view).”

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