Freedom of expression or censorship of antisemitic hate speech?

Editorial and audience perspectives on comment moderation in far-right alternative media

Authors

  • Birgitte P. Haanshuus The Norwegian Centre for Holocaust and Minority Studies

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.7146/journalistica.v16i1.130043

Keywords:

far right, alternative media, comment moderation, online comments, editorial control, audience participation, hate speech, antisemitism, freedom of expression, anti-Muslim prejudice

Abstract

Taking the dilemma between freedom of expression and censorship of antisemitic hate speech as a point of departure, this article explores how three prominent and controversial Norwegian far-right alternative media perceive and perform comment moderation and how editorial and audience perspectives on the issue correspond. Based on a critical discourse analysis of interviews with key staff members and a strategic selection of comment sections, the article demonstrates how both moderators and debaters understand the boundaries between legitimate and illegitimate expressions and how transgressive content should be dealt with. The article argues that when it comes to regulating comment sections, these oppositional media actors are not so alternative after all. The study illustrates how comment moderation is crucial for all actors who seek to obtain or protect their legitimacy, regardless of their (counter-) position in the public sphere. While there is widespread agreement on antisemitic hate speech as illegitimate, there is, however, more tolerance for generalising statements about Muslims and immigrants, which underpins these actors’ antagonism towards these groups.

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Published

2022-06-23

How to Cite

Haanshuus, B. P. (2022). Freedom of expression or censorship of antisemitic hate speech? Editorial and audience perspectives on comment moderation in far-right alternative media. Journalistica, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.7146/journalistica.v16i1.130043

Issue

Section

Online first