Hate speech in the media as inexhaustible topic11. September 2012 - 19:04 — Sanela Gojak
When are journalists and the media responsible for a hate speech? Although it is generally believed that media or media employees are responsible for hate speech only when it’s used directly by themselves, their responsibility is also equal in occasions when transferring someone’s hate speech, in a way of contributing to the spread of such speech.
Given how important the issue is to the public, it is accepted that the media has a duty to inform the public about hate speech, as a present phenomenon in society.
On the internet, we should be just as careful as in real life. Should be especially cautious individuals who perform in public office. And of course, everyone else.
After writing of "Slobodna Bosna", disciplinary proceedings were initiated against Senad Pandzic, an employee of the Office of Public Affairs of the Federal Government, who’d threatened on Facebook to Aleksandra Pandurevic, SDS representative in the BiH Parliament.
Namely, responding on Facebook to statements by Aleksandra Pandurevic in the media, Pandžić, in the comments below the news, wrote: "Is there anyone in the Parliament that would stuff a foot up in this sluts ass? Or are you also disgusted by her?"
Aleksandra Pandurevic, Representative of SDS in BiH Parliament, filed a criminal complaint against Senad Pandzic, an employee of the Office of Public Affairs of the Federal Government, else a former journalist of BHT1.
More scandalous than behavior of Pandzic, who also said that Pandurevic’s place is only "for the pole", is the approval of the attitudes of his friends on the aforementioned social network, otherwise employees of state institutions - states, among other things, in the article of "Slobodna Bosna".
Head of Public Relations of the Government of the Federation, Raska Denjalic, initiated disciplinary proceedings against officer of this office, Senad Pandžić, explaining her decision: "Senad Pandžić’s behavior is inappropriate. In accordance with the procedure, as well as his immediate supervisor I have an obligation to initiate disciplinary proceedings."
Slobodan Kremenjak, attorney of the Legal Services ANEM, according to media.ba, pointed out that those individually written comments fits exactly as well as comments outspoken on television or written in the newspapers, and that the rules are quite clear: "Regardless of whether you say anything under a pseudonym, alias or any other name, the mark remains, and you could answer for what you write on the internet."
It should be noted that reporting on one's ethnicity or sexual orientation, especially on religious commitment, is very sensitive.
Communications Regulatory Agency BiH (CRA) considers that a significant progress has been made in the field of preventing and punishing hate speech in the media in recent years, although this issue remains an inexhaustible subject, especially in the pre-election period.
Whether some media will be responsible because someone quoted speech that incites ethnic hatred or intolerance, will depend on the circumstances of the case.
What is freedom and what is responsibility; how should online media treat user comments and what is the practice like in other countries? Is it a public or private speech?
For instance, we find the case of English professor in engineering high school in Novi Sad, Jelena Popovic Ivanovic, who posts comments on her facebook profile that are full of nationalist and homophobic statements, against which is filed a criminal charge for spreading hate speech.