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Responding to hate speech against women

Hate speech directed at women in political life, which is unfortunately constantly present in our public space, recently culminated in the statements of convicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj, in which he attacked MP Draginja Vuksanovic. This is another example of strikes of the lowest kind, which violate both human rights and the morals of civilized political life. The aim of such statements is to eliminate women from public life and this must be prevented. We will also file complaints with the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media of the Republic of Serbia (REM) and the Agency for Electronic Media of Montenegro (AEM) against Happy Television, which encourages and promotes hatred towards women. We call on all political actors in the country, especially the Prime Minister, ministers, MPs and other influential men, to clearly decide against poisoning public space with hate speech, insulting comments and belittling their female colleagues.

There is almost no political entity in the country that has not embraced hate speech and sexism as a legitimate means of political struggle, even though it is a legally prohibited act. All this persistently passes without consequences, which further encourages this form of political ignorance which violates the human rights of women.

On this occasion, we support the right of every woman, regardless of whether she belongs to a political party, trade union, association or not, to express her views without fear of receiving the most banal insults of dissidents, aimed at her dignity and private life.

We have warned who knows how many times that sexism and personal insults directed at women politicians, just because they are dissidents, are an insult to every woman and represent political violence against all women, because it undermines decades of efforts to involve women in public and political life and maintain the modest progress that has been made in this area.

In addition, it is psychological violence against women that has unforeseeable consequences for their health, reputation, social and family life, especially when it happens continuously, over a long period of time. We do not want new generations to grow up in such an environment, to learn from bad examples.

Next week, we will submit complaints to the Electronic Media Agency regarding the program content broadcast on “Happy” TV, as well as to the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media of the Republic of Serbia (REM). We call on the Director of AEM and members of the Agency Council (SAEM), especially our colleagues from the non-governmental sector in that Council, to react urgently in this and other cases when the media broadcast content with elements of hate speech and discrimination.

                            NGO Women’s Rights Center and NGO Human Rights Action

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