Minority Monitor 2020

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Hate speech, xenophobia and anti-Hungarian sentiments in Romania

 Hate speech targeting various minority groups is one of the most important foci of human and minority rights. Previous research has established that social media platforms play a key role in the construction of hate speech against minorities.

The immediate motivation of our study is the salience of the issue indicated by the UN Forum on Minority Issues. In a broader sense (independently of the UN Forum), the research intends to provide a better footing for minority rights protection, especially concerning xenophobia in general and anti-Hungarian sentiment and hate speech in particular by exploring and deconstructing the structure of the aforementioned discourses and sentiments. It tries to understand anti-Hungarian sentiments in a more general framework focusing on xenophobia. Furthermore, it focuses on the key differences in discursive and cognitive anchors between anti-Hungarian discourses and sentiments and xenophobia in general present in the country.

The systematic examination of xenophobia, minority-related and anti-Hungarian discourses was devised on the following levels:

  • How do minorities in general and Hungarians in particular appear in the relevant textbooks in Romania?

In the course of the analysis, we will examine the Romanian language and literature, history and civic education textbooks

  • What is the public perception of and attitude toward immigrants, minorities and Hungarians?

We will compare two representative samples of roughly equal size, the first receiving questions relating to xenophobia in general terms, and the second analogous items framed with specific reference to Hungarians. The survey will be complemented by a sample representative of Hungarians, which explores xenophobic (including anti-Romanian) sentiments present among Hungarians and perceptions of interethnic co-existence.

  • What topics are connected to xenophobic, anti-minority and anti-Hungarian hate speech in the Romanian media and the online space, and how?

Our goal is to explore the topics which appear in connection with minorities in general and Hungarians in particular among Romanian netizens. Analysing the opinions surfacing on the web, we can identify recurring motifs and narratives governing the occurrence of content related to minorities and Hungarians.

The research is a collaboration between the Szekler Institute for Public Policies (SZKI) and the Bálványos Institute (BI)