RESEARCH: Hate Speech and Disinformation Narratives in Montenegro

Over the past few years, with a lack of adequate self-regulation and an unregulated market, Montenegro has been facing a trend of growing presence of offensive speech in the public space that frequently escalates into hate speech, as well as the spread of disinformation and propaganda.

This study builds on earlier research by SEENPM conducted within the same project and focused on the channels of spreading hate speech, disinformation and propaganda and political and economic aspects of related media and communication practices.

This new research finds that, regardless of which target group (migrants, journalists, political opposition – opponents of the Law on Freedom of Religion, proponents of this Law) the narratives containing hate speech, disinformation and propaganda refer to, the types of media and communication practices recognized as questionable in the previous research proved to be the channels for disseminating unacceptable content in this analysis as well.

The analysis of narratives aimed at the four target groups mentioned above showed that hate speech is absent from the editorial content of traditional established media. However, established online media are not successful in full adherence to professional standards. For the most part, they carry announcements, remarks or information which often feature narratives that contain inflammatory speech or disinformation. Balanced content that equally presents different opinions of participants in a dialogue and provides citizens with an objective picture of an important social or political topic, is becoming a rarity.

The segment recognized as problematic in the work of the established online media is the inadequate moderation of reader comments. These comments frequently contain offensive speech against ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, and personal insults against political or ideological opponents of the anonymous commentators.

This analysis showed that the editorial content of the rightwing media can contain elements of hate speech and that these media outlets nurture inflammatory rhetoric and incite additional spreading of hate speech, insults and conspiracy theories through unmoderated comments.

Such content is additionally disseminated via Facebook pages sharing the viewpoints and ideas of the rightwing parties and interest groups. Also, civic activists, journalists and other public figures whose viewpoints are different from those advocated by these pages are often targeted  on such Facebook pages.

Download the publication in English and in national language.

This publication was produced within  Resilience: Civil Society for Media Free of Hate and Disinformation, a regional project financially supported by the European Union and implemented in the Western Balkans and Turkey by a consortium of media development organizations led by SEENPM. It is part of a series of publications on the same general topic focused on hate narratives researched in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey (all publications are available on the SEENPM website).

Earlier research within the same project tackled models of hate, disinformation and propaganda and their political and economic foundations. The resulting publications are available on the SEENPM website.

Read the previous report on Montenegro: The Political and Economic Foundations of the Media and Communications in Montenegro that Spread Hatred, Propaganda and Disinformation.  

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Funded by the European Union

The regional program RESILIENCE: Civil society action to reaffirm media freedom and counter disinformation and hateful propaganda in Western Balkans and Turkey’ is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by partner organizations SEENPMAlbanian Media InstituteMediacentar Sarajevo, Kosovo 2.0Montenegrin Media InstituteMacedonian Institute for MediaNovi Sad School of JournalismPeace Institute and Bianet.

This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of SEENPM and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.