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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Institute of March 8th and hate speech

By Arian Sajovic

 On Wednesday, July 19th, 2023, we witnessed one of the most comprehensive psychological operations in the history of media, aimed at silencing critical media and the public in general. The thread of the ten-minute video revolves around an “independent organisation” and its fight against so-called hate speech. This CNN report included the personal story of the president and co-founder of the March 8th Institute, Nika Kovač.

The Twitter battle between her and our former prime minister, who, of course, played his eternal role as an authoritarian villain seeking all-encompassing dominance, was highlighted. She pointed out his “attack” on her questionable fashion choice, and the selected online trolls’ comments urging the thirty-year-old to start a family. The film continued with a portrayal of the work of the “institute”, followed by the climax of the dramatic triangle. An incredible and inspiring success of a meeting with the Minister of Culture from the party she contributed to establish through her political activism in one of the founding groups, which later merged under the name United Left and later just Left.

With a government minister, who is even a co-founder of the Institute March 8th, while Kovač holds a position in one of the newly formed government bodies dealing with – you will not believe it – the fight against hate speech. To add a touch of diversity, two professors from the University of Ljubljana made cameo appearances, contributing their academic legitimacy to Slapšak’s explanation, describing the process of building an agenda around the figure labelled as hateful, which has been the “main villain” of the film for over three decades. Of course, it was entirely coincidental that this segment was published on the day of Kovač’s meeting with our current prime minister, during which recommendations for handling so-called hate speech were presented. These recommendations apparently include expanding the already broadly defined legislative interpretation of this term. It seems that from now on, even facial expressions or reactions that might cause discomfort to someone could be subject to punishment…

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