Elena Prohnitski: I urge public institutions to become involved in prevention of hate speech

Elena Prohnitski, secretary of the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (CALC), calls on the public institutions that can to become involved in the prevention of hate speech and urges the voters to attentively analyze the information they receive in the election campaign and to put more questions to themselves. In IPN’s public debate “Debunking of false electoral messages and counteracting of speech inciting division”, Elena Prohnitski said the role of the state institutions, even if they are weak and there is no regulatory framework, should not be neglected as these institutions, by their activism, will be able to contribute to fighting and preventing hate speech.

She referred to such institutions as the Council for Preventing and Eliminating Discrimination and Ensuring Gender Equality, the Audiovisual Council, which could come with a decision to penalize particular TV channels for promoting hate speech and division, even if there is no regulatory mechanism, the Central Election Commission, which could prevent hate speech and incitement to hatred so as to show that it is an independent and impartial institution. “The other institutions empowered to fight false messages and messages that incite hatred could come with official communiqués to refute the false messages. Civil society could stimulate these institutions to be more active in fighting hate speech,” she stated.

According to Elena Prohnitski, the fact that the whole Moldova is full of electoral posters saying that “the country will not be offered to foreigners”, is already an indicator that we will witness a dirty election campaign, as during the presidential elections. The political stake is as great. That’s why the election contenders will insist on the strategy for promoting the message by taking skeletons out of the closet. The institutions should be ready to take measures before the election campaign starts.

In another development, Elena Prohnitski said she cannot say there is a common political culture that would enable to identify and appropriately react to noxious messages. Moldovan society is diverse. It developed the three types of political culture known in politology: patriarchal that is based on traditions and local leaders, political culture of subordination where the citizens recognize the existence and role of the state institutions, but do not become involved in the political life, and participatory culture where the people take an active part in decision-making. The political parties target a particular category of citizens. It is easier to manipulate vulnerable persons. The number of people with critical thinking increases yet and the target group of politicians will diminish.

The public debate “Debunking of false electoral messages and counteracting of speech inciting division” is the 186th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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