Exposure to Online Hate in Four Asian Countries (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) and Individual Factors: A Cross-National Survey


There is a considerable amount of hate material online, but the degree to which individuals are exposed to these materials vary. It is also evident that online extremism and hate groups are significant threat to national security of every nation, and understanding who is exposed to these materials is critically important so they could be emphasized and prevent them from becoming radicalized. Using samples of youth and young adults from four Asian countries (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka), we investigate who is exposed to hate materials. We find support for using routine activity theory to understand exposure at the individual level. By logistic regression, the results from the sample of Sri Lanka (whose youth and youth adults have exposed to the least online hate as compared to other three Asian countries) has taken as a reference value and comparison are drawn with other nations. After taking the individual factors into consideration, it is found that there is a significant variation in exposure to online hate for many of factors. Although there are cyber laws implemented in each of those nations, the study argued that the individual factors can weaken the resistance provided by those laws. It is recommended that such studies should also be carried out in other nations where the extremist groups (like ISIS) are trying to getting their evil needs fulfilled.

Keywords: Hate Speech, Routine Activity Theory, Cyber Laws, Digital Media