Study: Xenophobia in Public Speech on the Rise

Out of 1,926 discriminatory messages expressed in public speech in 2017, some 49% were xenophobic in character, marking a notable increase on 2016, the monitoring report published today by the Media Development Fund (MDF), a Georgian non-governmental media watchdog found.

MDF monitors public speech and media statements by political figures, media reports as well as private citizens’ comments aired through the media. The report said a marked increase in xenophobic messages was linked to anti-migrant statements, as well as a notable increase in Turkophobic and Armenophobic statements.

Turkophobic messages had a marked foreign policy slant, aiming to mark Turkey as equally threatening to Georgia as Russia is.

Hate speech is narrowly clustered: three sources of media – pro-Kremlin, conspirationist daily “Asaval-Dasavali”, extreme-right/Kremlin-sympathetic Obiektivi TV and their respondents have carried the lion’s share of these messages.

Among the political parties, populist nationalist and socially conservative Alliance of Patriots, the Nationals (Erovnulebi) and Kremlin-sympathetic United Democratic Movement lead the way, worryingly followed by the ruling Georgian Dream party.

Homophobic messages were second in frequency, amounting to 38% of the total monitored messages, followed by discriminatory messages on religious ground with 7.3%.

The detailed report is available here.

Due disclosure: Publication of the Hate Speech report has been financially supported by the UN Association of Georgia, parent NGO for

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