Propagandists like skilled poisoners. They quietly added poison to the food that is fed to society.
The information war between Russia and the West is in full swing, and none of the parties is not interested in a truce. On the contrary, the struggle with “heavy artillery” of this confrontation — the media.
Recently, the U.S. government demanded that the American branch of RT TV channel was registered as a foreign agent. “Mirror response” on the part of Russia not long in coming: on 15 November the state Duma adopted the bill, allowing to include all foreign media to the category registered as foreign agents. Russian parliamentarians, however, claim that the approach will be targeted, and the compilation of “blacklist” will be engaged in the Ministry of justice. However, although the law has not yet entered into force, editorial Board of “voice of America” and “Radio Liberty” had been notified about possible problems.
It is useful, incidentally, to remember that the first step to limit the “corrupting influence” on the minds of the Russians was made in 2014 when the law “On mass media” was amended, prohibiting foreign ownership in Russian media shares more than 20%.
This struggle with the “wrong” media is only one manifestation of the now familiar propaganda and hatred. The Russian public space is increasingly reminiscent of the theater of operations, where events unfold in a rigid coordinate system “friend or foe”. Most long defined a party to the conflict, and a variety of media and bloggers only regularly add fuel to the fire, reminding the layman simple idea that it is surrounded by enemies, and at the same time suggesting who these bad people. The arguments in this case few people are interested — they successfully replace emotions. Moreover, the same techniques used by representatives of opposing camps.
Of course, the rhetoric of hate and exclusion worldview characteristic not only for Russia. In varying degrees, an unwillingness to see the shades and the desire to gank the opponent with emotional labels, eating into the very consciousness, are found almost all over the world — both in authoritarian countries and in countries with established democratic institutions. Another thing is that an indicator of the health of society is the understanding that this approach to anything good will not, so he must somehow be counteracted. In Russia, unfortunately, very much trying to draw attention to this problem. The rest either did not notice her, or even try to earn it.
Meanwhile, the effects can be even more serious and formidable than it seems at first glance. One of the first to this question in 1930-40-ies of XX century began, the German philologist Victor Klemperer, who studied before Hitler came to power the French literature of the XVIII century. Because he was Jewish, in 1935, his scientific career came to an end. From the camp of the scientist saved the marriage with the “Aryan descent”, with which he almost to the end of the war, he lived in a special “Jewish house”.
It was there accustomed to the daily work of Klemperer for the past ten years, despite the danger of their position, and collected observations about the language of Nazi Germany and its impact on the population. This diary later became the basis of the book “Lingua Tertii Imperii (Language of the Third Reich”).
Conclusion Klemperer about what a propaganda tool of the Nazi regime was the strongest, may seem surprising. From his point of view, it was not a speech, article, leaflets, posters or banners. Klemperer was convinced that “Nazism was bored into the flesh and blood of the masses through individual words, expressions, structure sentences, hammered in a crowd of millions of repetitions and absorbed by it mechanically and unconsciously”.
For example, with the filing of propaganda, the Germans began to use the word “fanatically”, instead of saying “heroic” or “valiantly”. And ultimately, many came to believe that a fanatic is a gallant hero. And contemptuous expressions such as “the lower race” and “noyabrya” (revolutionaries of 1918), Klemperer was compared with the scanty doses of arsenic that people have swallowed unconsciously (not true, like a modern “liberastov”, “jackets”, “demshizu”, “Nashi”, etc.?) After some time, the poisoning made itself felt — the consequences are well known.
Assuming that the logic Klemperer is correct, then in Russian society, this process of poisoning is in full swing. To find the antidote will not be easy, and who needs to play the role of “physician” — the big question. Seemingly, the main responsibility is to take the state. Today, however, it participates in the ideological war. Just in case I will remind that in Russia there is a corresponding state Agency, designed to ensure that media and bloggers were not engaged in hate speech. Here only in practice, the regulation in this area is quite selectively and usually pursues other purposes.
In fact, as international experience shows, to create a “peaceful” space information is possible where it is taken, the media — cooperation with the authorities, of course, not excluded.
For example, in Finland the fight against hate speech is handled by a special Committee of the media — self-regulating non-governmental organization, whose membership included almost all Finnish media. In its tasks, in particular, is the maintenance of ethical principles of the journalistic profession, and to prevent “hate speech” on the pages of Newspapers, broadcast and online media. Ignoring the Committee’s recommendations, is fraught with serious reputational losses in the eyes of the professional community, and consumers.
It would seem that Finland all clear. She long occupies the first place in the ranking of media freedom, and the first law on freedom of the press it was passed in 1766 (Finland was then part of Sweden, but the initiator of the law was the Finn Anders Chydenius, whose memory his countrymen revered so far).
However, in countries that cannot boast of a rich history of independent and Autonomous mass media, members of the media at times also trying to work together to fight the culture of hate. For example, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Dayton agreement ended the war, but did not solve the problem of disunity within the country. Various Bosnian media, defending the interests of one group or another, long enough only to “heated” situation. However, in the end, first raised the alarm it is the journalists, not the government. Within the professional community, without any participation of the state, launched a campaign “STOP! Hate Speech!” Its purpose was not only opposition to labeling, but also presenting to the public the idea that the language of hatred — far-reaching consequences.
Even more unusual case — Libya, multibreeding and mnogochlenov country with an extensive backlog of grievances and claims. About any traditions of democracy, including freedom of the press, there is, of course, do not speak. However, last year representatives of the major Libyan publications still got together and signed an agreement pledging to make opposition to the rhetoric of hate part of their editorial policy. Of course, no guarantee that they will be able to quickly come to a tangible result, but in this case, an attempt can be seen as a success.
In Russia today in this solution to the problem, apparently, almost no one is interested. Unbiased materials, appealing to the arguments, not to the emotions, needs neither the state nor the society. A year and a half ago when the discussion of this topic is senior adviser in the Office of the representative on freedom of the media OSCE Andrei Richter said, in my opinion, a very important thing: Russia is not only not equal marketplace of ideas and socio-political mass media, but civil society requires the state to create conditions for its existence. “As a result of the media depend on many forces, but none of them insisted that they were honest and responsible to its audience. Therefore, the meaning of self-regulation is missing,” says Richter.
In the end, the ideological split within Russia only grows, as shown by the events of recent months, there are already people who are ready to move from disputes to action. Victor Klemperer believed that the language of Nazi Germany will long outlive the regime itself and overcoming its effects will take many years. He was right: this process took more than a decade.
How viable is the language of modern Russia — the question, in my opinion, still open. Today, his influence becomes stronger. Perhaps the only way to not suffocate in the atmosphere of hatred is to understand that not only the government creates the agenda. Otherwise, irrespective of any political change, Russian society will be doomed to remain divided into irreconcilable camps, who have almost no chance to come to an agreement.
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