Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Incitement of Hatred

Incitement of Hatred Marian Kotleba at the head of the march of the Slovak ultra-right in Bratislava, June 2016.

In December 2014, NGO Roma House published its monitoring report called “Roma, journalists and media”“ Authors of the report, led by Martin Gonda, analysed 899 media reports related to the Roma community in Slovakia between July 1 and November 30, 2014.12% of these contained stereotypical prejudices, most of which were related to high crime rate and poor social behaviour among the Roma. Most prejudice was observed in TV and online news reports. Local media focuses on Roma the most – 20% in cities and 9% in city areas. Thus, Slovak media exploits the established negative image of the Roma community, which contributes to the high level of prejudice in the society.

In July, 2014, the inquiry into the former RTVS sports news host Kristina Kormutova has concluded. On May 21, 2014, the popular TV presenter posted an anti-Roma comment on her Facebook page. “I woke up at 4:30 from a noise, as if a massive beam fell on my head and some smelly gypsy is stealing a four-metre drainpipe from my house. Why can’t we shout them like parasites? Why? Let nobody call me racist. Because they have nothing!!!”. After a wave of criticism, author removed her status and apologised. “I sincerely apologise for these hasty statements, which emerged in the heat of passion and are incompatible with my personal beliefs.” She was soon sacked from television. Prosecution did not find grounds for criminal investigation”.

There have been a few anti-Semitic calls. For example, on August 9, 2014, it was reported that a Catholic priest Emil Floris said that Jews are themselves guilty of the Holocaust, and the same can happen with Roma.

On September 16, 2014, vandals desecrated a monument to St. Stefan – first King of Hungary – in Kosica. Anti-Hungarian writing was found near the Hungarian Scouts Union in Limbi.

In 2016-17 Against the backdrop of Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, a wave of anti-Islamic hatred arose in Slovakia, which came not only from social networks, but also from representatives of the highest echelons of power, as well as the media. The main Slovak TV channels, radio, newspapers, websites and other sources of information focus on the activities of Muslim extremism, which are often perceived by readers, listeners and viewers as sufficient reason for the general condemnation of Islam. For example, the Pegida demonstrations in Dresden, which attracted 8,000 people after the attacks on women in Cologne on New Year's Eve in 2016, were reported by the Slovak media, but in such a way as to suggest that the demonstrations were acts of combating terrorism.

Instead of providing positive information about interfaith cooperation between the Islamic community in Slovakia and Christian denominations or about the benefits of coexistence, the media presented negative stories about Islam that made people afraid of religion. Instead of presenting real and factual stories, the media has linked Islam to terrorism and civil unrest.

This situation was actively used not only by right-wing radicals, but also by right-wing parties, which, following the example of Poland and Hungary, actively used Islamophobia and migrant-phobia for their election purposes.

A group of Slovak researchers published an article in August 2018 titled "Combating hate speech on Facebook: the case of the Roma minority in Slovakia " in which they proved that the vast majority of posts and comments on Roma-related topics that were posted on the profiles of various members of the Slovak Parliament and in the most popular online news outlets were negative.

Despite the fact that no more than 2,000 Jews live in Slovakia, anti-Semitic propaganda was actively developing here. In 2019-2021 latent anti-Semitic stereotypes describing Jews as greedy or covertly influencing world affairs were widespread even outside of neo-Nazi groups and their supporters. According to the US State Department, this led to the fact that anti-Semitic discourse became attractive to voters of far-right parties and was actively used by them during election campaigns


NGOs have reported violence and online harassment against LGBTQI+ people. In June 2021, a popular local clothing company received a wave of anti-LGBTQI+ hate speech online for posting a social media ad for its rainbow collection, which featured two men holding hands. In May, a kindergarten in Poprad issued a public apology after it faced strong online backlash from parents and the public who claimed it was promoting the LGBTQI+ community when a rainbow was featured in a weekly student-directed play.

Also in May 2021, the cultural center in Bratislava reported that its rainbow flag, flying in support of the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, was torn down in broad daylight by a group of men. The organizers reported online hate speech, while an LGBTQI+ rights NGO reported an alleged violent incident that took place in June of that year in the center of Bratislava just a few days before the launch of Bratislava Pride month. During the pride itself, several youths verbally abused a group of gay men and then proceeded to physically assault one of them, kicking him, repeatedly hitting him with a telescopic baton, and chasing the victim down the street. Later, the victims complained about the inadequate response of the police: the police were late to the scene and did not draw up an official protocol.

According to a survey by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) released in 2020, more than three-quarters of Slovak same-sex couples reported a fear of holding hands in public. The survey also showed that only 26 percent of LGBTQI+ community members were open about their orientation, and 36 percent were afraid to visit certain sites for fear of being attacked. A total of 46 percent of members of the LGBTQI+ community felt discriminated against in at least one area, and at least one in five transgender and intersex people reported physical violence in the five years prior to the survey, twice the number of other LGBTQI+ people. An FRA survey found that only 8 percent of victims reported such an attack to the police, while 6 percent reported discrimination to an equality body or other organization.

NGOs have reported online hate speech against refugees. Government officials at all levels and leaders across the political spectrum delivered rhetoric portraying refugees and Muslims as a threat to society, and several political parties used anti-immigrant rhetoric. The Center for Research on Ethnicity and Culture published a study in May 2021, which confirmed the trend towards worsening public attitudes towards migrants in the country. The majority of respondents believe that foreigners contribute to an increase in crime (65 percent) and a deterioration in security (62 percent). According to the study, the majority also have a negative attitude towards the "refugee from Syria" (68%) and the "Muslim family" (64%). All this is the result of the spread of hatred towards minorities.

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