Words Matter: How the Czech Print Media Enabled ‘Othering’ of it’s Nation’s Citizens

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.

One Reply to “Words Matter: How the Czech Print Media Enabled ‘Othering’ of it’s Nation’s Citizens”

  1. Hi Austin! I appreciate your critical analysis of this article. Given the timing of its publication and the events that occurred afterward, I would also be interested in seeing a more up-to-date version of the authors’ research in the Czech Republic. I am also curious as to what they constitute as “hate speech” and whether this hate speech appeared on both sides of the political spectrum in the media. I found that the article covered media in a broad sense, but I think breaking down media discourse could have added valuable insights regarding the reporting of minorities and the Roma community in the Czech Republic media. Too often, one forgets that racism, hatred, and violence are not unique characteristics of the left or the right. For example, anti-Semitism can be found in both left-wing and right-wing parties, so I assume left-leaning and right-leaning media outlets suffer from the same issue.
    Thanks for all your valuable insights this semester, and good luck in future studies if you decide to pursue graduate studies!

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