ISTANBUL. – The number of headlines and news stories that vilified specific groups on the basis of ethnicity, religion or other characteristics increased to 115 in the first four months of 2012, up from 38 over the same period last year, a report by the Hrant Dink Foundation has found.
The Foundation screened seventeen newspapers for hate speech, Zaman daily of Turkey informs.
The report, which was announced to the press on Monday, found a striking quantitative increase in the number of stories that could be classified as employing hate speech. In reports collated last year, there were 38, 41 and 27 such stories spotted in Turkish newspapers in three consecutive four-month periods. This figure was 115 for the January-April 2012 period.
The foundation also found an increase in the number of groups that were targeted by hateful reporting, a trend that has been on the rise since late 2011. Earlier this year, 17 different groups were targeted by hateful speech in the media—the highest figure ever since the foundation started monitoring the media for discriminatory language.
According to the report, Armenians were the most targeted group during the January-April 2012 period—more than half of the stories containing hate speech had targeted this group. They were followed by Christians, Jews, Greeks (in Turkey and Cyprus), the French, and the Kurds.
“We frequently witness that the media in Turkey employs biased, prejudiced and discriminatory language. The provocative, racist and discriminatory language used, particularly in front page stories and story headlines, turns into instruments that trigger hostility and discriminatory sentiment in society and strengthens bias based on stereotypes,” states the Hrant Dink Foundation’s report, RFE/RL informs.