Hate Speech and Media Information Literacy in the Digital Age: A Case Study of 2018 Elections in Pakistan
The usage and influence of the social media in the 2018 general elections in Pakistan was pervasive compared to the one held in 2013. This study examines that how three mainstream political parties of Pakistan, utilized the Facebook and Twitter for their electioneering in 2018. To what extent the element of hate speech was existing in their Tweets and Facebook posts? The research adopted qualitative method and employed content analysis of the Facebook posts and Tweets of seventeen (17) selected central leaders and parties’ media cells from period of May 25 to July 25, 2018. To examine the level of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and hate speech in political campaign, elite interviews were also conducted. The findings suggest that political leaders promoted hate speech through Facebook and Twitter for electoral purposes. In this respect, Twitter emerged as a major tool for spewing hate. The study recommends the formation of special code of conduct for political campaign on the social media by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for reducing hate speech and to build a peaceful democratic society.
Muhammad Furqan Rao