The Final report “Hate Speech in the Election Discourse of Kyrgyzstan”
The “Hate Speech in the Election Discourse of Kyrgyzstan” research was held by the experts of the School of Peacemaking and Media Technology in CA with the support of Media-K Internews in the KR from July 15 to October 10, 2020.
To overcome hate speech and discrimination during election campaigns, it is necessary to improve the culture of discussions and self-expression, create models for politically correct discourses in the public space and media sphere of Kyrgyzstan.
The package of recommendations and findings is provided in the final report of a series of researches on multilingual monitoring, documentation, analysis and examination of the hate speech/trolling in discussions concerning pre- and post-election topics.
Diagram 1. Dynamics of detected hate speech in all periods of media monitoring, %
The researchers analyzed the trends and dynamics of hate speech detected in the selected online media and social media content. The content was classified by kinds of hatred. We detected prevailing trends and their causes in every period of media monitoring.
We detected ten trends by kinds of intolerance in public discourse. Their analysis is given in detail in the final report.
Diagram 2. Dynamics of trends by kinds of intolerance in media and online discussions in all periods, %
Among main findings, researchers noted:
- the lack of quality analytical information about political parties, their programs, candidates in the media,
- the use of hate speech by the most sensitive issues for the audience on the internet and in public space,
- references to ethnic and regional affiliation of candidates and their supporters,
- language intolerance in discussions about debates,
- gender imbalance and hatred towards women candidates in social media.
Trolling and flawed argumentation, identification, accusing some political parties and their candidates by association with someone else, separative language, obscene and reduced vocabulary were also recorded during the research. All these signs were detected in the visual content, too.
The experts emphasize that statements and quotes in the election discourse containing xenophobia created in the audience the demand for intolerance, which was expressed in hatred comments in the forums under the news posted and in social media.
The researchers recommend to the authorities:
- to take into account the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech adopted in September 2020 when developing the programs;
- to contribute to the speedy adoption of the comprehensive anti-discrimination law in the Kyrgyz Republic,
- to develop multilingual models of proper debates for public state persons,
- to train speakers to overcome hate speech and intolerance during election campaigns.
Donor and international agencies are recommended to support on-going professional monitoring and humanitarian examinations of hate speech in public discourse, and also components designed to develop the new media culture, in which there will be the awareness of non-discrimination in public space, importance of overcoming the hate speech and support to the freedom of expression.
Our main recommendations address the journalists and the media. They focus on the need to update editorial instructions, put into practice exit polls to promote alternative options and develop critical thinking in the audience, rules of quotation of the speakers who use hate speech in their statements.
“The journalists need to raise public awareness of the language aggression in the online environment and its impact. It is important to understand the network etiquette in online discussions by training the voters to perceive the information consumed critically,” the recommendations emphasize.
This research has been made possible by the support of the American people provided via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The School of Peacemaking and Media Technology in CA is responsible for the content of the publications that doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of USAID, the US Government, or Internews in the Kyrgyz Republic.
About the organization. The School of Peacemaking and Media Technology in Central Asia is an organization for the development of media, public relations, the promotion of freedom of expression, and fighting hate speech and discrimination in the mass media. This organization is specialized in media research and expertise of online content, the language of intolerance in the media, the Internet and public discourse, development of media campaigns on sensitive topics, training for journalists and online content developers, human rights defenders, including in the conflict zone.
 Recommendations to state bodies, the media and content creators, as well as international organizations and donor agencies, p. 13, “Hate speech in the pre- and post-election discourse in Kyrgyzstan”, final issue / July-October 2020, URL
 Trends by kinds of intolerance, p. 28 of the final issue.
 UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, 2020, https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/UN%20Strategy%20and%20PoA%20on%20Hate%20Speech_Guidance%20on%20Addressing%20in%20field.pdf, https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/advising-and-mobilizing/Action_plan_on_hate_speech_RU.pdf