Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Spanish Political Communication and Hate Speech on Twitter During the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Full Text   PDF (free download)
Views: 1037 | Downloads: 1049


Abstract:  Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the polarized discourse of the West vs. Russia seems to have escalated to levels similar to those during the Cold War period. The aim of this article, which is centered on the case of Spain, is to discover to what extent communication from political parties contributed to such polarization by encouraging hate speech. To this end, messages sent by the political parties represented in the Spanish parliament, over the social network Twitter during the first 60 days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, were analyzed: A total of 3,186 tweets from 67 official accounts, both from these political parties and their main leaders, were coded. The results showed that despite social networks in general—and Twitter in particular—being a favorable environment for the promotion of hate speech, the communication of Spanish political parties was generally characterized by political correctness and moderation. The presence of the main indicators of hate speech analyzed (threats, criticism, ridicule, or insults) was very minor. The present article associates this finding to other variables such as the tone of the tweets (informative, opinionated), their scope (international, national), and engagement (replies, quotes, retweets), among other factors. It is concluded that Spanish political authorities had a socially-responsible behavior in the case analyzed, reinforcing the importance of public diplomacy to counteract hate speech. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the polarized discourse West vs. Russia seems to have escalated to levels like those of the so-called Cold War period. The aim of this article, focused on the case of Spain, is to discover to what extent the communication from political parties has contributed to such polarization by encouraging hate speech. To this end, the social network Twitter messages by the political parties represented in the Spanish Parliament during the first 60 days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine were analyzed; a total of 3,186 tweets from 67 official accounts from the political parties and their main leaders were coded. The results show that even though social networks in general -or Twitter in particular- are a favorable environment for the promotion of hate speech, the communication of Spanish political parties was characterized, in general, by political correctness and moderation. It is not in vain that the presence of main indicators of hate speech analyzed (threats, criticism, mockery, or insults) were very minor. The article relates this to other variables such as the tone of the tweets (informative, opinionated), the scope (international, national) or engagement (likes, comments), among others. It is concluded that Spanish political authorities have a socially responsible behavior in the analyzed case, reinforcing the importance of public diplomacy to counteract hate speech.

Keywords:  hate speech; polarization; political communication; political parties; political social responsibility; Russia; Spain; Twitter; Ukraine

Published:  


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v11i2.6328


© Antonio-José Baladrón-Pazos, Beatriz Correyero-Ruiz, Benjamín Manchado-Pérez. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.