By Austin Pellizzer
In this final week of reflections for the Populism and Authoritarianism in Contemporary Europe class, we looked at how both old and new media has shaped national narratives. One prominent example of this is the Tess Slavíčková and Peter Zvaguli article Monitoring Anti-Minority Rhetoric in the Czech Print Media: A Critical Discourse Analysis. In this work, the authors describe how they used analytical steps via AntiMetrics to track hate speech within Czech Print media against its Roma citizens (153). By analyzing three points: 1) hate speech and media, 2) hate speech and public opinion, and 3) hate speech and body politic (153), we see how media outlets can utilize linguistic aspects and recollections of accounts to polarize inter-ethnic conflicts and create a type of ‘othering’ amongst its population (157). However, while this article was able to shed light on a facet of research imperative to understand, three questions regarding this method have come to mind.
Firstly, with this article coming out in 2014, a year before the migrant/refugee crisis that shook the EU and continent, the authors alluded to the idea that the Czech Republic’s far-right was weak (156). Would this have changed in the wake of the humanitarian events of these past years? Secondly, when measuring this phenomenon of hate speech in national media (152), how did the researchers define the term? Since hate speech continues to be a highly controversial topic, the definition has been one of contention. Thus, it would be beneficial for the reader to get a sense of their measurement of this term and how they came to a clear and definite consensus. Lastly, with the Czech population deeming the ‘other’ to be the Roma population (152), would this ostracizing be now directed to the migrants or both? Considering the many gaps in this article due to the timeline and explanations, it is clear that Slavíčková and Zvaguli’s work would need to be updated to fit this contemporary and ever-changing environment.