March 18, 2020

MEDIA MONITORING: FEBRUARY 2020

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

241 publications about sexual orientation were found in Lithuanian media in February. 31 publications had sexual orientation as their main topic.

“Homosexual” was the most used keyword this month as well – it was used in 117 publications. The least discussed group is lesbians: they have only been mentioned 12 times this month, mostly when discussing the LGBT community in general.

15 publications cited a person belonging to the LGBT community (6 transsexual or transgender people, 9 gay people). Notably, after observing an increase in citations in January that were caused by the win in the ECHR, the number of publications quoting an LGBT person has dropped.

The subjects in which the LGBT community was discussed the most often were the Istanbul Convention (10), hate speech (15), personal stories (11). Other topics include Lithuanian politics and entertainment.

The increase of positive publications in January was mostly caused by the ECHR case. It has dropped once again this month, but the number is still better compared to the month of December. The majority of positive articles were interviews with various personalities who advocated for the LGBT community (for example, „81-erių DJ Wika: „Senatvė gali būti milžiniška motyvacija gyvenimui“, 15min.lt). Negative publications were mostly about the Istanbul Convention and the possible validation of gender as a social construct, as well as other issues pertaining to Lithuanian politics, namely characterizing the LGBT community as an entity that is destroying the country and its values (for example, „Paskutinis politinio lavono pirstelėjimas?“, Laisvas laikraštis, „Simonas Kroydonas nuo mafijinės teisėsaugos pabėgo į Londoną“, Laisvas laikraštis, „Tėvynė“ [4], Radviliškio kraštas).

It is also worth mentioning that the Lithuanian media used improper speech while reporting on the request of NBA player Dwyane Wade’s transgender child to call her “she/her”, meaning that the media continued to use male pronouns:

D.Wade spoke up about his boy’s decision to become a transsexual” (sportas.lt)

From now on his 12-year old son will be referred to as a daughter. This is what Zaya himself wanted.” (Lrytas.lt)

Publications about LGBT are still very uncommon in the regional press: none of the 31 pieces, in which the LGBT community was the main subject, made it into the regional press. The majority of these publications can be found on the internet (25).

MUSLIMS AND ISLAMISTS

453 publications relating to either Muslims or Islamists have been found in the month of February; 333 mentioning Muslim people and 135 mentioning Islamists. In 60 articles the main topic was either the Muslim community (52) or Islamists (8).

The term “Islamist” continues to be used exclusively for describing the actions of extremized military forces, with the exception of a publication that ended up both on the internet and in the press, in which the topic of world politics was discussed („Pasikliauti šiame pasaulyje galime tik savimi“, respublika.lt). The article refers to Muslims who have migrated to Europe in a very disrespectful way, and both “Muslim” and “Islamist” are used interchangeably.

The main topics this month were terrorist attacks (61), mostly about the actions of Islamists, as well as the terrorist attack against the migrant community in Germany, the relationship between the East and the West (60), discrimination against Muslims, especially regarding attacks in the Great Britain and protests in India (62). It is important to mention that these publications are usually neutral news reports; publications that have any connotations are usually either in the culture and lifestyle section or come up while discussing world politics in Lithuania.

In the context of Lithuania, there were 99 publications about the Muslim community. Notably, there has been an increase in positive publications in the last few months. As for the negative publications – they decreased and remained at about the same level. The increase in positive numbers is related to a publication about hate crime, which has spread among numerous news portals and newspapers (starting with Vakarų ekspresas „Neapykantos incidentai vis dar išlieka opia problema“), as well as words said by the head of the Lithuanian Muslim association Ahmed Faraz during the annual book fair, which were striving to break down stereotypes surrounding the Muslim community (for example, „P.S. Krivickas. Septynios džiugės iš Vilniaus knygų mugės (nuotraukos)“, Alkas.lt). Overall, Muslims or representatives of the community were cited in 14 publications.

Another publication that is worth mentioning breaks down stereotypes about the Muslim community and their culture that is often generalized as well („Kultūrų tyrinėtojas E. Račius: ieškokime panašumų, o ne skirtumų“, Alfa.lt).



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