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'Dangerous speech' fuelled by fear in crises can be countered with education

Fear is the biggest motivator in spreading 'dangerous speech' in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, says BKC’s Susan Benesch.

“What is curious about the pandemic is that, in contrast to most situations where one group turns on another, now everyone is equally vulnerable and frightened and for very good reason,” Benesch warns. “The fear of disease, which is an invisible enemy, is especially powerful. Because almost everyone feels afraid, this means even more people are susceptible to dangerous speech which creates a widespread risk that they condone or commit violence against others.”

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