First quarter of 2020 shows ‘doubling’ of reports of racism compared to 2019

First quarter of 2020 shows ‘doubling’ of reports of racism compared to 2019

According to the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR), there has been a marked increase in the reporting of racist incidents in Ireland. It revealed that there has been “more than a doubling of the average reporting rates” compared to 2019. 

It linked this increase to Islamophobic comments made by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary. And it noted the role of anti-Chinese sentiment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A rise in hate

In a press release INAR released the latest figures related to its iReport online racism reporting system. It found a “fourfold increase in reports relating to online and media content”. Added to this, there has also been a 63% in reports of crime and discrimination. And reports of violent assaults in particular have risen by 33%.

What’s more, INAR disclosed a “vast increase in reports relating to media and online content”. This was linked to posts on social media and election literature by far-right candidates in the February general election. Recent comments by Ryanair CEO also engendered an increased in reports made to the organisation. 

INAR also highlighted the role of the COVID-19 pandemic in an increase in racist incidents. It stated that a “significant number of reports” it received were about “Coronavirus-related comments” directed at minorities and Asian people.  

Social media

But according to Dr. Lucy Michael, the rise reported by INAR is not directly linked to COVID-19. She pointed out that INAR was seeing a rise in reports made to it before the spread of the virus. 

Dr. Michael also noted the role of social media in this rise, arguing that:

The data shows clearly that this is driven by the ease with which racist materials circulate on major social media platforms.

In March INAR released a report which detailed the complaints it received via its iReport system for 2019. It noted an increase of 140 reports compared to the previous year. 

And in another report it published in November 2019, it argued that there “is a cause for deep concern” when it comes to online hate speech in Ireland.

Featured image via Pixabay – Javier Robles

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