This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of September, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Media Outlet: ReactNieuws, alternative news blog
Description of the anti-Muslim and xenophobic content: ReactNieuws is a Belgian news blog with a clear far-right stance. In July of this year, GTTO partner EUJS filed a complaint against ReactNieuws for spreading misinformation in a news article with clear xenophobic and anti-Muslim tropes. Since then, ReactNieuws has continued to publish articles that focus largely on immigrants and Muslims, using editorial techniques to paint them in a negative and hateful light. Some of the headlines which have graced the front page of ReactNieuws this month include: “Asylum seekers everywhere: invasion continues, lax Belgium remains open country” and “‘I am a Muslim, Allah Akbar, I must kill Christians!’” ReactNieuws claims they are exposing the truth to counter years of the public being told lies by the media about immigration and multiculturalism. They are, according to their slogan, proudly “strongly polarising.” However, the content that ReactNieuws publishes is beyond polarising; it uses far-right narratives and tropes which paint an unfair and untrue picture of immigrants and Muslims in Europe. Besides their website, their biggest reach is on Facebook, where they have over 12,000 followers.
Myth debunked: Many of the articles on the ReactNieuws website follow the narrative of the Great Replacement theory, which is often used by the far-right. The Great Replacement theory is the idea that “‘western’ identity is under siege by massive waves of immigration from non-European or non-white countries, resulting in the replacement of white European individuals via demographics.” We can see these ideas echoed in many of ReactNieuws’ articles. In an article published this month, the author claimed that “The disappearance of our people is not fate, it is a political choice” and referenced a supposed “asylum invasion.” The Great Replacement theory is an incredibly dangerous tool which has been used by several terrorists, including Anders Breivik and the Christchurch attacker, to justify their horrific actions.
The language used repeatedly on the ReactNieuws platform, along with the far-right tropes and narratives, can be regarded as a radicalisation tool. Looking at some of the reactions on Facebook, we see ReactNieuws’ audience calling for the deportation of all immigrants, and claiming that all Muslim immigrants are dangerous to Belgian society. ReactNieuws’ editorial style will continue to foment these ideas, which can only lead to dangerous realities.
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