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Is debate possible in the midst of hate speech?


Image from Comunicar Igualdad


Last week, writer Claudia Piñeiro was forced to make her Twitter account private. Do you know why? The religious group ACIERA ("Christian Alliance for Evangelical Churches of the Republic of Argentina") published a statement that criticized the series The Kingdom, in which Piñeiro worked as scriptwriter. She was criticized in that statement and then started to receive hateful messages in her social media accounts. Curiously enough, her co-scriptwriter Marcelo Piñeyro was not equally targeted. He wasn't even mentioned in the statement...


How would you translate "hate crime" into Spanish? Context, please!


When translating the term "hate crime" we use expressions like "delito de odio" or "delito motivado por el odio." However, "crime" is not always translated as "delito." For example, in certain contexts, the correct translation of "crime" would be "crimen" (a "crime against humanity" is a "crimen de lesa humanidad" while "war crimes" are "crímenes de guerra.")


But why do we have different versions? Where do they come from?


The word "crimen" in the two translation examples mentioned can be traced to the official Spanish version of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This terminology is shared by many other international instruments, which use the word "crimen" in their official Spanish versions, such as the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, the Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice, the Geneva Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts.


In Argentina, as well as in Spain and most Latin American countries, the law uses the word "delitos" instead of "crímenes." One might deduce that the latter refers to more serious crimes but, for example, in the Argentine criminal system “delitos” are crimes specifically set as a criminal offense, while “crímenes” have a broader, less specific application. At Tradoctas, we always keep in mind that our translation of texts with legal references must never deviate from the terminology used by the justice systems mentioned in those texts.


We would like to thank Gabriela Garrido and Paula Arturo for her contributions to the reflection shared in this post.


Feminist cyber-activism: how risky is online advocacy?


A few weeks ago, Comunicar Igualdad published a piece of research titled "Is debate possible in the midst of hate speech?" According to its authors, the idea behind it originated from their concerns about the worsening quality of public debates: the number of violent attacks and hate expressions has grown a lot on social media.


According to the report, offensive speech is mostly used against people who express feminist ideas: journalists who write with gender perspective and LGBTIA+ people are some of its main targets.


The analysis took into consideration three topics which have become subject matter of feminist research in recent years: feminist cyber-activism, communication strategies of anti-rights groups and hate speech. For this report, the authors investigated Twitter accounts and interactions between anti-rights groups and feminist advocates in Argentina.


Does this fall within the scope of State responsibility? Is there any kind of legislation on it? Spoiler alert: up until 2015, there was practically no public policies in Latin America and the Caribbean on the development of an information society with a gender perspective. Women's access to ICTs was not considered a priority in almost any country's agendas.


Read the full report in Spanish or a limited version in English here.


How to communicate equality: Sandra Chaher's professional career


When talking about gender perspective in Communications, we must mention the pioneer work of civil society organization Comunicar para la Igualdad (Communication for Equality) in Argentina. Since 2011, they have offered training courses for professionals in the field of Communications, they have collected data and created observatories on gender inequality in communications materials.


The organization is chaired by journalist Sandra Chaher, who has a degree in Communication Sciences issued by the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and specializes in Gender and Law. She is also director of the Diploma in Communication, Gender and Human rights taught by @comunicarigualdad with co-certification from the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) of the Organization of American States.


Additionally, Chaher is a lecturer at UBA and the National University of General Sarmiento. She is a member of the Network of Experts of Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and coordinator of the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) for Latin America, launched by UNESCO in December 2013. Chaher gives lectures and courses on Communication and Gender in Argentina and Latin America and she founded the Argentine journalists network RED PAR for non-sexist communication and the International Network of Journalists with a Gender Vision (Red Internacional de Periodistas con Visión de Género).


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