Vida Bajc explained that events such as the World Cup always draw public to the host country, as for them it is a way to learn more about its culture, heritage, as well as its economic and political vision. The sociologist added that being in the spotlight is important in an age when the world is "extremely crowded with information."
Bajc said that at the same time, the primary reason as to why countries desire to host such events is to be accepted into the informal ranks of the "world's leading powers," historically associated with Western countries.
"During recent years, however, we see resistance to such a hegemonic understanding of what it means to be in the global spotlight. Particularly in the case of Russia, we see that Russia seems to be determined to go its own way," Bajc said.
The sociologist admits that the work that human rights organizations are doing is highly important, but noted that such negative coverage, as was the case with the Human Rights Watch report on Russia, is "about whose economic, cultural, and political vision will prevail."
"The Human Rights Group pointed out that Russia provided assistance to countries accused of crimes against humanity, despite there being numerous allegations against the US and UK doing the same thing, why is that?" Bajc asked.
She also expressed interest in the coverage of other significant events, such as the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics, which are to take place in France and the US respectively. Bajc noted that it would be a perfect opportunity for journalists and watchdog organizations to asses these host countries' adherence to the standards of human rights. The sociologist is curious as to what kind of media coverage and attention these two countries will receive.
Human Rights Watch has published a 49-page "guide for reporters," describing what it calls Russia's "deteriorating human rights situation" in May. The publication came ahead of the World Cup, which is set to take place in Russia this year. The report talks about an alleged "crackdown" on the freedoms of expression and assembly in Russia, a "human rights crisis in Chechnya" and "discrimination and violence against the LGBT community." Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has previously slammed attempts by Western countries to attack the sporting event, including calls to boycott it.
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