Q) There have been a noted rise in the cases of hate news in the media which often leads to violent events. What steps in your view must be taken to arrest such a trend? (150 Words)
- Source: IE Page 10/Editorial: Hate News
- GS 4: Media Ethics
Introduction: Hate speech is the speech that attacks a person or a group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. When media uses hate in its broadcasting it becomes hate news. This can be spread by both print and visual media as well as social media.
In the recent pasts there have been various hate news which have led to violent clashes too. For example the shooting of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh by an angry mob in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandsheher.
Ways to arrest the trend of hate news.
- Education on media ethics: Countering tribalised hate speech begins by a realization that while freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, the emergence of social media has created multiple platforms for the production, packaging and dissemination of hate speech. Education on media ethics should focus on the rights and freedoms of journalists and their role in creating and promoting peaceful societies.
- Awareness must be raised on the political, social and cultural rights of individuals and groups, including freedom of speech, and the responsibilities and social implications that come with press freedom. Journalists must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to identify hate speech and to counteract hate speech messages.
- Encourage conflict sensitive reporting and multicultural awareness campaigns: Conflict sensitive reporting will help dispel the ‘us’ against ‘them’ fallacy. Journalists should be taught conflict sensitive reporting skills. Multicultural awareness campaigns should emphasize knowledge about and respect for the diversity of cultures and traditions. Journalists must exercise professional standards in this and can write articles, air programmes and even speak with people without taking sides.
- Regulate social media: I know many of you reading this article will ask how you regulate social media without revoking the right to press freedom. Press freedom can be enhanced through education on media laws and ethics.
- Encourage victims and witnesses to report hate speech related crimes: Hate speech remains largely invisible simply because many victims do not know where to report the cases or even understand that they are victims of hate speech.
- End impunity against hate crimes: Impunity against hate crimes can be tackled by establishing monitoring and evaluation units in newsrooms. These units would then be tasked with monitoring hate speech trends, compiling reports and bringing these to the attention of key institutions and the civil society.
- Speaking up: speaking up about equality, inclusivity, and diversity. Some refer to this method as counter-speech. The more we can undermine hate speech with loving words, logical arguments, and truth-telling, the more that hate speech will begin to lose its power.
Conclusion: In a recent comments, the Chief Justice of India has brought to the attention the hate media that exists in the free speech space in India. Self regulation of media in this regard can be the only sustainable solution which balances both the right to free speech as well as its misuse.