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Silencing Dissent

Sun, May 27, 11:00 to 12:15, Hilton Old Town, Floor: M, Dvorak I

Session Submission Type: Panel


Silencing dissent in particular operates to maintain a status quo, but also to cement forced, violent transformation in societies where target groups become those in positions of vulnerability, whether historically set or newly founded. The strategic of silencing dissent robs others of the ability to engage in speech acts, false assertion is just one example. The legitimacy of the dissent and their contribution to democratic processes has been under attack. Media that are uncomfortable for the regimes experience various pressures or even closure. Reporters sans Frontiéres and Freedom House, human rights observers report that many states routinely deploy techniques designed to suppress independent journalism, manipulate and slant news selectively in their favor, and limit critical coverage of the regime. Silencing is by no means limited to its target. A medium engages in silencing when it describes itself as fair and balanced to an audience that is perfectly aware that it is neither. In effect they suggest that there is no such thing as fair and balanced, that there is no possibility of balanced news, only propaganda. Silencing is only one kind of propaganda. In silencing, one removes the ability of a target person or group to communicate.
Especially silencing dissent puts pressure on democracy , voices are being marginalized and language manipulated through various practices. Ranging from medicalisation of the dissent, very visible in situations of political suicides that are not given the space in the public debate but presented as “sick” to deaths in extreme cases as the numbers of killed journalists worldwide shows. Taking it further verbal violence against women can be viewed as silencing dissent, a practice of punishing women for refusing superiorior-inferior dependency. As DaShanne Stokes says “Silencing women silences justice”. Legislation procedures are not free from silencing either. Too complicated texts are often an obstacle for citizens to egage in a process and fight for their rights.

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