|A graph on policies responding to hatred and discrimination/ Source: The National Human Rights Commission of Korea|
AsiaToday reporters Lee Sun-young
Nine out of 10 South Koreans believe that it is necessary for politicians and media to refrain from expressing hatred online, according to a new survey. The result is drawing attention as it comes amid the prolonged pandemic, which has created an even more fertile ground for hate speech.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea announced the result of the survey on Thursday. The survey was conducted to find ways to respond to the online hate speech issue.
Eight in 10 people said that online hate speech was a serious problem and more than half of the respondents, or 59.5 percent, said that hate speech and discrimination has increased since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to the poll.
As the cause of hate speech, 86.1 percent cited ‘structural discrimination in our society’, while 82.4 percent chose ‘expressing economic difficulties to the underprivileged’ and 79.2 percent picked ‘the attitude of the media’. 85.5 percent of respondents also agreed with a newly added option in the latest survey, ‘internet service providers remaining idle.’
It was analyzed that hate speech used by politicians, who have great social influence, left a greater side effect, as 76.3 percent, or 49.4 percent more than the previous survey, said that they no longer feel hate speech is a problem as it is often used by politicians and celebrities. Regarding policy to counter hatred and discrimination, 90.3 percent said that politicians and the media should refrain from using expressions or reports that may encourage hatred.
As for measures to address hatred and discrimination, 89.9 percent said the government should ‘extend education to prevent hatred and discrimination in schools’ while 89.4 percent said it should ‘strengthen education and campaign to improve awareness of hatred and discrimination.’ Most people agreed that the government needs to ‘take legal action against malicious hate speech’ (86.1%), ‘set up comprehensive countermeasure at the government level’ (85.7%), ‘enact the Equal Rights Guarantee Act’ (85.7%), and ‘strengthen the authority of a discrimination remedy agency’ (81.0%).
Eighty percent picked ‘women’ as victims of online hate speech. The negative outlook on hate and discrimination increased in general compared to the previous poll. Ninety percent said hate and discrimination would ‘intensify social conflict’ while 87.7 percent said it would ‘lead to crimes.’ 79.5 percent said ‘the freedom of expression of minorities would be reduced’ while 79.2 percent said the phenomenon would be intensified.
Meanwhile, the latest poll was conducted by Realmeter and commissioned by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea on 1,200 people aged 15 and over nationwide from May 20 to 25. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.