In recent weeks, Chemnitz became the focus of public attention, in Germany as well as abroad. Over the course of several days, there were right-wing extremist attacks on counter-demonstrators, journalists, Muslims, and the Jewish establishment.
If one analyses the media in Europe today it becomes evident that there has been a rise and acceptance of xenophobic, racist and anti-religion narratives. This has evidently run parallel to – and quite possibly has been one of the effects of – the surge of right-wing extremism movements and of ultra-nationalist groups in many parts of the region. Some media outlets have been echoing such narratives, thus reinforcing them. Media and journalists face a serious challenge in tackling these discourses of prejudice, intolerance and hostility towards the other and otherness.
Boris Johnson, the UK’s former foreign secretary, wrote a piece for the Telegraph about Denmark’s recent burka ban, and whether we should adopt the same laws in the UK. Upon reading the title of the piece, which claims that Demark has “got it wrong”, you might be cautiously optimistic.
Sometimes online hate speech hits the comment sections rather unexpectedly, but most of the time it follows an established pattern. One example is news articles about the Arab-Israeli conflict that usually lead to a wave of antisemitism. It does not even need to be coverage of the actual military conflict. Even Israeli culture and music can serve as a canvas for bigotry, as an example from May revealed yet again. The mere fact that Israeli singer Netta won the Eurovision song contest was reason enough for antisemitic comments. Israel and Israelis serve as a new projection screen for well-established antisemitic narratives and ideology, including ideas about a world conspiracy. It is these double standards that turn the Jewish state Israel…
The prominence given to immigration in domestic Hungarian politics since 2015 has surprised migration experts. It took a particularly distinct form in the period leading up to the general election in April 2018, when migration was placed centre-stage, albeit presented in a distorted, negative way, in the government-controlled media such as the Hungarian news website Origo (origo.hu). We never thought that we would witness such a clear example of moral panic.