The assassination attempt against Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on Thursday brought to the fore the need to think and be aware of the impact and repercussions that hate speech has when it is reproduced indiscriminately on social networks and the media.
Many referents, both from the ruling party and within the opposition, have expressed their rejection of the incident understanding that an attack on a public official elected by popular vote means a crime against democracy itself.
The fact seems to serve as a break, an opportunity to reflect on the consequences of hate speech and the reproduction of messages that incite violence.
We strongly repudiate the attack against the vice president @CFKArgentina
We cannot naturalize or tolerate these facts, a consequence of the emboldening of the fascist right from the attempt to ban those who represent a broad sector of the popular field. pic.twitter.com/3UUEVHVLg1
— CORREPI (@CORREPI) September 2, 2022
The isolated madman theory
Much has already been said about Sabag Montiel, the person arrested for firing the weapon on the head of the nation’s vice president. The first thing that the media was in charge of highlighting is that he was of Brazilian origin, and that he had already had a record for carrying weapons..
His Brazilian origin immediately refers the audience to the hate speech and pro-armamentist policies of Jair Bolsonaro, YoInstalling the idea of the penetration of these discourses through the porous borders. Instead, Sabag lives and works in Argentina for a long time and had some media appearances before the incident.
In them, he expresses himself without traces of a foreign accent and reproducing an absolutely common speech. Getting carried away by its origin is a mistake. The person who triggered the gun to the head of the vice president of the nation has lived in the country for almost 30 years and is, for that matter, one more Argentine.
NATIONAL CHAIN – Message from the President of the Nation, Alberto Fernández (@alferdez).
– Pink House (@CasaRosada) September 2, 2022
Other media were responsible for spreading the most extreme publications on their social networkspaying attention to his affinity with Wicca and Satanism groups or the swastika tattooed on his arm to try to build a stereotype of isolated psychopath a la Taxi Driver or Joaquin Pheanix’s Joker.
In dialogue with Agencia Telam, Héctor Shalom, director of the Anne Frank Museum in Argentina, «whatThat the perpetrator of the assassination has a Nazi symbol tattooed on his arm is non-essential data, there is a risk of assuming that what happened is an individual event, of an individual subject, and it would be a misreading«
Since @BAProvince We believe that this is not only an attack on @CFKArgentinatwice President, today vice president in office and also leader of our political space, but an attack on democracy. pic.twitter.com/DEUSwPhiep
— Axel Kicillof (@Kicillofok) September 2, 2022
In a note provided to the agency, Shalom rejects the hypothesis that «an individual event, of a loose madman» to try to explain the attack against Cristina Fernández. Instead, he prefersanalyze hate speech as an incitement to an act of violence because, finally, we saw that someone put into action what others built«.
The United Nations (UN) in the 2019 defined hate speech as any type of speech delivered in the public sphere that seeks to promote, incite or legitimize discrimination, dehumanization and/or violence towards a person or a group of people based on their membership of a religious, ethnic, national , political, racial, gender or any other social identity.
In addition, he attributes to these speeches the generation of a cultural climate of intolerance and hatred and, in certain contexts, can provoke aggressive, segregationist or genocidal practices in civil society.
Hate speech and the responsibility of both the media and those who reproduce it on social networks It was one of the most discussed issues after the attempted assassination of Cristina Fernandez.
Many officials, legislators, experts and NGOs such as Amnesty International and the Ana Frank Argentina Center agreed that the attack on Cristina Fernández cannot be attributed to an isolated incident, but it is the result of the systematic propagation of hate through numerous public demonstrations, and they agreed to demand responsibility from «political and media leaders» that led to the «demonization» of the figure of the vice president.
The hate speech directed at the figure of the vice president escalated and sThey became fierce after the prosecutor Diego Luciani presented the accusations of the road case and after Cristinafor its part, exercised its legitimate defense through its Twitter account. The fact led many sympathizers to hold demonstrations in front of his apartment in the Recoleta neighborhood of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires..
It’s them or us.
– Ricardo López Murphy (@rlopezmurphy) August 27, 2022
Given the clashes between protesters and the city’s security forces, under the command of the Head of Government of CABA and a reference for Cambiemos, Horacio Larreta, the crack intensified both on the networks and in the traditional media. Journalists and party leaders have spoken about the event in a way that, according to experts, promotes ideological confrontation and escalation of the conflict.
The legislator and leader of Together for Change Ricardo López Murphy, to give an example, published days before a video where, with the slogan «It’s them or us», promotes this enmity. The liberal intellectual and referent Agustín Laje, for his part, encouraged ideological segregation through a tweet that encouraged not to interact with Kirchnerist militants.
The crack cannot be closed: it must be assumed.
– Do you have a son K? Stop funding it.
– Do you have a business? Close your doors to militants K.
– Are you an employer? Don’t hire K.
– Do you go to a church where the priest is K? Stop going there.
All ties with these rats must be severed.
– Agustín Laje (@AgustinLaje) August 28, 2022
As some experts have warned, manifestations such as these are not new nor are they exclusively due to the episode in question. Lately, the reproduction of these hate speeches have become commonplace, both in the media and in networks and public spaces.
The manifestations of this violent discourse could be seen in the guillotine or the black mortuary bags with names of officials that could be seen in the latest opposition demonstrations.
It could also be seen in the continuous attacks on the feminist movement, immigrants or beneficiaries of social plans from many television programs, broadcasting hate speech and inciting violence against them.
Viviana Canosa’s provocation against the feminist women’s group: “What is patriarchy for you, who didn’t fuck with you at university?” pic.twitter.com/TSw0UmlZ6k
– El Vigía Agency 🇦🇷 (@AgenciaElVigia) March 9, 2022
In that same sense there is the criminalizing media approach that is always used to deal with social protests, pointing out only the traffic chaos and silencing the expressions.
This type of discourse in a delicate social contextwith dangerous political tension and more than 35% of the population below the poverty line, removes the possibility of dialogue and encourages hatred in the audience.
The first reaction of most of the people who received the video of the assassination attempt on the networks was discredit. This is natural, since trying to kill a presidential figure in a democracy seems more typical of something that happens in a narco-state like Colombia or in a mafia state like the United States during the assassination of the Kennedys.
But even if it takes a few minutes for some to realize the seriousness of the situation, Fortunately, minutes later, he was able to find himself on the same networks with publications from different referents, both from the ruling party and the opposition, as well as figures who are outside the current political crack.rejecting the attempted assassination and warning about what this means for democracy and respect for the will of the people.
However, many people prefer to continue discrediting what happened or are not able to measure the seriousness of the event. It is that the anti-political discourse that has been widely disseminated in recent years leads to interpreting everything that concerns officials with a fictional set-up, discarding any evidence or testimony that could say otherwise..
The Laboratory of Studies on Democracy and Authoritarianism of the National University of San Martín carried out a study on the conditions for the circulation and reproduction of hate speech.
– Jorge Capitanich (@jmcapitanich) September 2, 2022
Through the analysis of different focus groups, the researchers observed that, beyond the evidence or plausibility that a story may have, people are much more likely to credit or share posts that match what they were already thinking before reading it.
Despite the verifiable facts, many users of social networks prefer to continue maintaining the story of the lying policy instead of starting to measure the danger that democracy is running of a country in the face of the possibility that someone attacks a figure elected by popular vote.
Thus, It is still important and ponderable that in the face of events like these they are repudiated by characters and referents of different political colorsdemonstrating that they are capable of setting aside their colors and personal or partisan convictions in pursuit of the defense of peace and the common good that was achieved with democracy.
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Who is the man who tried to assassinate Cristina Kirchner and how is the case going?
The reactions to the attempted assassination of Cristina Fernández
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