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The Helsinki Foundation to monitor xenophobia in 2018 Polish local election campaigns

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights will launch social monitoring of hate speech and xenophobic speech used in political campaigns for the Polish local elections taking place in October 2018. The social monitoring project will examine social media posts of electoral candidates in selected cities, as well as comments below these posts made by internet users.

The project organisers are interested in a number of questions related to xenophobic speech and attitudes towards migrants:

  • Will the issue of immigration and refugees appear in the 2018 election campaign and become, as in 2015, a political fuel for (at least some) candidates?
  • Will the presence of foreigners, real or imagined, be an important topic for politicians and their voters?
  • Will candidates openly use xenophobic language? If yes, how often?

The monitoring is to be conducted through the use of special software for monitoring internet content and social media. Researchers have previously found a rise in xenophobic attitudes since 2015, partly due to the rhetoric used by some politicians and prevalent in the media.

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