08 Feb 2018

The media's responsibility in the rise of fascism

On February 3, a fascist attacker injured 6 people of African origin in Macerata, a small town in central Italy. The media are partially responsible for this crime. 

Ingrid Colanicchia
Ingrid Colanicchia MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
The media's responsibility in the rise of fascism - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:

And this is a responsibility, which, as a journalist, I consider essential to acknowledge. 

At a time when Italy has become a breeding ground for hatred towards "others" and fascist acts of violence against homosexuals, migrants, and young leftist militants, the reaction of mainstream media has been disconcerting. Not only have they often spread hate speech, but they also minimized more serious incidents, carefully avoiding the word "fascism", even inviting representatives of radical organizations to debates and talk shows, thus legitimizing them.

Meanwhile, the narrative concerning  migrants -- the ideal scapegoat -- is continuously described in terms of "emergency", "crime", "illegality", a word choice that strengthens the stereotypes that feed hateful propaganda.

The rise of fascism, in Italy and elsewhere, is, to some extent, the result of political and economic factors. But it is also driven by the information industry.

The media are at a crossroads: what will journalists and publishers do in the future? Will they live up to their role, or not?


Details from the story:

  • On 3 February, Macerata, a small town in central Italy, was the scene of a fascist attack.
  • A young Italian man shot several people, wounding 6 citizens of African descent.
  • Luca Traini, the shooter, was a candidate of the Lega Nord party in the 2017 election, running for office in the municipal council of Corridonia, a town of 15,000 inhabitants in the province of Macerata.
  • Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lega Nord, declared: "Any shooter is a criminal, regardless of skin color".
  • He then added: "It is clear and obvious that such out-of-control immigration, an organized invasion like the one that was planned and financed these last years, will lead to social conflict."  

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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