Go to Contents Go to Navigation

Gov't promo material uses hate speech, biased depictions: rights watchdog

All News 14:24 August 10, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- The state human rights watchdog said Tuesday it found multiple uses of discriminatory language and imagery in government promotional material, including stereotypical depictions of foreigners.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea said it commissioned a two-month study that began in March on the use of hate speech in press releases, graphics and videos made by 18 government agencies. The study was conducted by the National YWCA of Korea and two other groups fighting for equal rights for the disabled and foreigners.

This image, provided by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, shows government promotional material that depicts a woman as being on the margins. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"We did not find many serious or prominent forms of hate speech," the commission said. However, it added, "There is a need to review the limitations and problems in responding to content in government promotional material and to look for ways to make improvements."

The study found 760 gender-biased expressions, of which 34.5 percent were imbalanced representations of the sexes, such as depictions of marginalized groups, the elderly and children as female, and of professionals and business executives as male.

In depictions of groups of people, women were portrayed as being on the fringes, while a male image was used to illustrate a "young person."

The commission said 27.7 percent of sexist descriptions were stereotypes about gender roles, with women being portrayed as counselors, nurses and caregivers, and men being portrayed as on-site workers and professionals.

Women were drawn with long eyelashes, wearing dresses and tones of red, while diets and skincare were suggested to be reserved for women.

The study also found 34 uses of hate speech against disabled people, including expressions such as "to overcome a disability" and "disabled people are not allowed."

There were 150 racist expressions, of which 36 percent could lead to bias and 26 percent were considered hate speech, the commission said.

In one example, an English teacher was depicted as a white person with blonde hair, while an undocumented foreigner was portrayed with curly, dark brown hair.

The commission also pointed to "a good foreigner" as an expression that could promote bias or be offensive to foreigners.


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!