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  • Date: 29-12-2015, 00:00

Summary of the Hate Speech Report

 29-12-2015, 00:00    Category: English, Media monitoring for hate speech


Summary of the Hate Speech Report

Hate speech is widely spread in the media, on the Internet, and in public discourse of Kyrgyzstan. In 2015, more than a one-third of Kyrgyzstan is have either heard, seen or read in the media the statements expressing disapproval, hatred or aggression against minorities, which, in opinion of groups studied under this research, can lead to violence.


In 2015, the number of social groups that are seen as victims of hate speech and possible victims of hatred-based crimes has increased. If in previous years experts mainly identified definite ethnic groups, the analysis of the media sphere by the end of the year showed that the main target of hate speech in Kyrgyzstan are ethnic groups, Muslims and LGBT.

Also, in 2015, the society has encountered almost three-fold increase of hatred against refugees, foreigners, including foreign investors, Canadians, Chinese, Turkish, whose ethnic (or state) backgrounds are widely discussed in the media and on the Internet. The majority of articles, reports and posts against them were written in critical tone, whereas in social networks it comes even to offensive language. Activity of some foreign companies is being politicized, for instance, the discussion of the Kumtor Gold Mining Company in a negative tone led to the fact that Canadians became one of the targets of hate speech and were listed among ethnic groups frequently discussed in the media with the use of dehumanizing metaphors and stereotypes. Certain inhumane statements in public discourse were identified against Chinese companies working in civil engineering, trade and services. "Chinese expansion" is a stereotype that has been widely used in recent years by all types of the media. In the analyzed period, the Chinese were also on the top of lists of ethnic groups seen as the victims of hatred.

The rapidly changing situation in the world affecting the formation of media content has only emphasized the new challenges along with the growth of islamophobia, xenophobia, migrantophobia, homophobia, which have been reflected in public discourse. No doubt that the growth of anti-Islamic rhetoric in the media is related to the wave of refugees and migrants to Europe and other countries amid the ongoing war in Syria and the attack of the so-called ISIS, ongoing recruitment of Kyrgyz citizens to the war in Syria and Iraq. By reporting this, media outlets frequently remind the audience of special raids to liquidate the militants of radical group in central Bishkek this July. At the same time, authors of reports or public speakers draw parallels between the Islamic attributes and terrorism, thus making enemies out of Muslims in collective consciousness.

The election of Ombudsman in Kyrgyz parliament again emphasized the issue of homophobia in public discourse. Five candidates to the position of ombudsman of the Kyrgyz Republic answered the questions asked by the members of parliament, who were wondering about their attitude towards LGBT. Rita Karasartova, one of the ombudsman candidates, called LGBT a "medical issue and genetic deviation".

Draft law on gay propaganda adopted by the parliament of Kyrgyzstan in the first hearing is on the agenda to be soon considered by legislators. The law provides for criminal liability for "forming positive attitude towards non-traditional sexual relationships". International organizations have strongly criticized this law, which is discriminatory and violating the rights of minorities.

Analysis and Trends

In 2015, the team of experts analyzed content of 58 (100%) media outlets issued and published in Kyrgyzstan in Kyrgyz and Russian languages, including 28 (48.2%) groups and public accounts on Facebook, 14 (24.2%) online media outlets, 12 (20.6%) newspapers and 4 (7%) TV channels.

Experts have selected media, online and social media for analysis on the basis of their popularity among the audience, availability and distribution in all regions of Kyrgyzstan.

Types of analyzed media

Summary of the Hate Speech Report 

Out of total array of information survey, conflict media texts[1] have been selected on the basis of such indicators as specific key words, humiliating clichés and stereotypes, classification of types of hate speech by 27 indicators, language typology and its tone; and afterwards they have been analyzed in a thorough and quality manner.



Comparison of outcomes of this research with the outcomes of previous media monitoring reports shows that hate speech has been deeply engrained in the media and public discourse of Kyrgyzstan.

Aggregate content of hate speech in media and social networks monitored by languages

Summary of the Hate Speech Report


In the reporting period 58 (100%) various types of media, including 18 (31%) Kyrgyz-language media, 12 (21%) Russian-language media and 28 (48%) and Uzbek language media monitored. It was selected and analysed articles, posts written in various genres - news, analysis, interviews, opinions - that touched upon LGBT, ethnic issues from all information available in broadcast, print, online media and Facebook.


Phobias with various overtones in the media by types

Summary of the Hate Speech ReportMain types of negative responses to one or other social phenomena in the media, online sphere and public discourse have been identified in the array of all information analyzed in November-December 2015. In this section of analysis, all materials containing nationalistic rhetoric and hatred against foreigners detected in media have been qualified as xenophobia[1]; media texts with negative reaction to LGBT have been qualified as homophobia[2]; information and reports with anti-Muslim rhetoric have been qualified as islamophobia[3].


Despite the fact that the nationalistic rhetoric dominates as in previous media monitoring period, experts have detected increase of islamophobic and homophobic trends in the media in 2015. The burst of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the media is undoubtedly related to the wave of refugees and migrants to Europe and other countries amid the ongoing war in Syria and attacks of the so-called ISIS, continued recruitment of Kyrgyz nationals to war in Syria and Iraq. By telling about it, journalists and speakers remind the audience of special operations to eliminate the militants of a radical group in central Bishkek last July. Also, the authors of statements by portraying parallels between Islamic attributes and terrorism, thus create the enemy image out of Muslims in the mass consciousness.

Homophobic moods in the media sphere are being supported by the discussion about the draft law on criminal liability for "forming a positive attitude towards non-traditional sexual relations” passed in the first hearing. Despite the fact that the LGBT issue is censored by the society and media, journalists and users address it on a weekly basis, mainly, in a negative tone.

Minority groups mentioned in the media in the reporting period

Summary of the Hate Speech Report

 During November-December, the total number of various social groups were mentioned in the media 295 times (100%) but referred to mostly in a positive way.

As in previous media monitoring, the main victims of hate speech are ethnic groups, with 84% of all reported ad hominem attacks. Abusive language is being used against ethnic groups not always because of their ethnic backgrounds. Often authors, when describing other problems (Canadian, Chinese, Turkish investments, Russia’s participation in economic projects), do use emotional phrases, dehumanising metaphors, mention ethnic background. This approach demonstrates the lack of professionalism in journalists, experts, public speakers.

Muslims are the second group against which media outlets often use anti-Muslim rhetoric. The main array of registered articles/reports and posts (11%) has raised the issues of terrorism and radicalism.

LGBT were the third group qualified by experts as targets of hate speech in the media and on the internet. They account for around 5% of all registered attacks. Approximately 1% of hate speech in the media space has addressed other social groups – migrants, refugees, foreign workers, representatives of NGOs.

Proportion of references to ethnic groups

Summary of the Hate Speech Report

In the analyzed period, journalists and users of analyzed media have made the majority of references to ethnic groups (84%) in a critical tone. The Kyrgyz-language media have transmitted the negative image of the Russians in articles and comments about the accession of Kyrgyzstan to the EurAsEC, the impact on the national economy and politics, on historical topics.

The Chinese ethnic group has been depicted as the source of threat to sovereign Kyrgyzstan, the competitors in the labor market, and as aggressors forcing local women to give birth to their children. Hate speech against the Turks has been related to trade investments, expansion of the scope of activity of Turkish businessmen, while Canadians are still a target of hate speech due to the operations of the Kumtor Gold Mining Company. Authors of media texts describe Canadians using such stereotypes as "Canadian swindlers”, "Canadian machinations”.

 Genres of articles containing hate speech

Summary of the Hate Speech Report Classification of articles/reports by genres shows where ad hominem attacks have been used most often – in news, analytics, interviews, opinions/editorial comments, or posts.

 Analysis of media sphere in November-December 2015 has emphasized the growing role of Internet and social networks, which create news often.

Monitoring demonstrated that reporters and users preferred opinion and comments. Such stories often contained hate speech.

Facebook has demonstrated the majority of dehumanizing metaphors and abusive language. There was identified almost 33% posts containing hate speech. Posts in social networks have different topics shifting from one topic to another. Sometimes users mix two hot topics and use harsh language, thus causing feedback.

For instance, a user (see example below) posted own comment to a post demanding Kumtor Gold Mining Company to stop its operations. Discussing this issue, the author used hate speech and calls to action, accusing ethnic groups, NGOs, religious groups in the problems.

Opinions containing offensive phrases take second place by genres (18%). We have detected fewer comments (16%). Both genres have expressed the opinions of experts, politicians that publish their articles in the Opinions columns on analytical web sites, in newspapers. In other cases, they have commented trending events in Kyrgyzstan and in the world, and their statements have been found both in certain sections of media, Internet and in reports in the form of brief interviews or individual phrases. Authors have raised the issues of radicalization of Islam, discussed the issue of unity of the Kyrgyz ethnic group in the time of increasing, in their opinion, influence of other ethnic groups or minorities and in the time of search for those guilty of current problems in the country.

Analytical articles and reports take 4th place by genres (15%), where experts have detected the use of hate speech.

The majority of analytical articles have been found in Kyrgyz-language newspapers that are popular with the audience in the regions of Kyrgyzstan. During monitoring experts were concentrated on articles dedicated to current events and the historical past.

News (6%) and interviews (6%) were following genres in media that often contained retranslating stereotypes with no relevant comments. Local reporters are tolerant to conflictogenic stereotypes and inappropriate statements made by officials, politicians and other respondents. Authors of articles have asked the interviewees either to clarify or comment on a careless phrase, but have failed to understand it as hate speech. Thus, journalists become accessory to spreading hate, even if such hate is voiced by the interviewees.

Finally, the genres with the least hate have become visual content (3.7%) and editorials(1.5%). The latter ones have often discussed the historical past of Kyrgyzstan, the issues of 1916, when the country was a part of tsarist Russia. The Kyrgyz refused to work in the home front, which caused disorders and victims among non-combatants. Kyrgyz politicians, history scholars, writers and journalists often present this fact as a national liberation movement against the oppression of tsarist Russia. Deaths of dozens of rebels, as well as the escape of the Kyrgyz tribes to China are blamed upon current Russia and Russian people living in Kyrgyzstan. The past events are described using hostile vocabulary and referring to the situation as "the Kyrgyz genocide”, whereas the Russian ethnic group is the target of hate speech in all articles and reports.


Summary of the Hate Speech ReportThe tone and emotion of surveyed articles/stories/posts determine the reality of stereotypes created by communicators in the minds of various social groups, identify ideological background and implicit form covering issues in various media. According to the methodology of the research, content analysis has been based on such indicators as state propaganda, criticism, neutral, positive or scientific tone.

77% of total number of articles contained criticism. This tone has been found almost in all types of media, genres and topics.

Critical tone means negative comments given by experts, respondents or the author about the situation or problem analyzed in a given story/article.

Criticism is used by authors in almost all topics; however, various social groups become the targets of criticism very often.

12% articles mentored the minority issues covered it in a neutral tone. Generally, these have been materials about the membership of Kyrgyzstan in EurAsEC.

6% of monitored articles/stories/posts has been written in a positive tone. It means absence of negative emotions or elements of satire. Articles written in this tone often contain only facts, can contain xenophobic statements, clichés and stereotypes without comments. The most part of materials written in a positive tone has been detected in Kyrgyz-language media and social networks. Authors in media and Facebook users have given comments about the representatives of the Kyrgyz ethnic group as of people who don’t want to learn their own language and culture and follow "others’ rules”.

4.4% articles were either scientific or historical.They have covered the history of Kyrgyzstan, mostly when it was a part of tsarist Russia.

Finally - only one case were classified as propaganda (6%). It has been found in the analyzed media, namely in the article discussing the spread of terrorism and the fight against it.

Leading perpetrators of hate speech

Summary of the Hate Speech Report 

Public figures of the Kyrgyzstan society lead the ranking of hate speech perpetrators in the analyzed period. The list of hatemongers is headed by users of social networks – 43.2%

Journalists take the second place among those who spread abusive language;

39.5% of intolerance has been spread on their behalf in articles and reports;

9.7% of hate speech has been found in the surveys of respondents and interviewees, which was broadcast or quoted in articles without comments;

4.5% of hate has come from politicians; 2.23% - from experts, and 0.87% has been found in the statements made by scholars and cultural figures.


Victims of hate speech

Summary of the Hate Speech Report



Ethnic groups, whose rankings have slightly changed, take the lead among victims of hate speech, as in previous monitoring periods.[1]

They have been attacked in 68%of all identified cases.

Analysis has shown that the targets of hate speech vary depending on events occurring by the time of publication of an article or a post, broadcast of a report. Thus, a burst of hate against Muslims was reported in November amid terror attacks in Paris and negative developments in Syria. These events account for 10% of all registered ad hominem attacks, which was not seen in previous periods of monitoring. Russiatakes the third place (7,8%) among the victims of hate speech. Just like the Russian ethnic group, the country is being personalized in articles and texts, and users of social networks express their hatred towards the war in Ukraine, membership of Kyrgyzstan in EurAsEC, war in Syria, conflict with Turkey, historical issues related to 1916, when the Kyrgyz territory was a part of tsarist Russia.

The authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic have been the fourth group on the list of victims of hate speech (5.5%).The government has become the targets of hate expressed by Kyrgyz-language newspapers, online media and Facebook users that have accused the government of economic problems, border and ethnic issues, as well as of the inability to govern the state. In 4% of cases, LGBThave been the targets of hate in the reporting period; 2.4% and 2.3% of hostile messages have addressed the USA and local NGOs, respectively. The three last groups have been simultaneously registered as targets of hate in the same media texts for a few times. For instance, when journalists or users discuss the discriminating draft law against "gay propaganda”, all of the above groups become the "accused” parties. Generally, authors correlate NGOs with "American funding”, and LGBT with the "influence of Western culture” on the Kyrgyzstan society.




[1] See chart "Individual analysis of references to ethnic and language groups”



[1] Xenophobia is a disrespect, intolerance, animosity or hatred against representatives of other group: national, racial, sex, religious. Xenophobia is a morbid and obsessive fear of strangers/ hatred, intolerance to something strange, unknown, foreign. Explanatory dictionary by Ozhegov. S.I. Ozhegov, N.Yu. Shvedova. 1949 1992

[2] Homophobia is fear of individuals that are considered gays, lesbians, or bisexuals (LGBT). It can be disguised by anger, or other feelings and behavior. Homophobia is based on unexplainable fear and, probably, on a hidden hatred against LGBT. Reference dictionary of social work, Web.

[3] Islamophobia is a baseless hostility against Muslims, fear of or animosity toward all or majority of Muslims, Web.


[1] Conflict media text is information, report, visual image in any type of media: newspapers, television, online news agencies, posts in social networks, bearing the load of conflictogenity in the form of lexical forms, inhumane and dehumanizing metaphors.

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