Understanding Right-Wing Extremism: A Study of Far-Right ‘News’ Sites in Australia
Dr Keiran Hardy1
1Griffith Criminology Institute, Brisbane, Australia
Right-wing extremism (RWE) is a growing threat in Australia and around the world. Understanding RWE ideology presents ongoing challenges; there are common themes in the views espoused by far-right groups, including hatred towards Muslims and other minorities, as well widespread use of Nazi symbology and reliance on conspiracy theories (especially ‘The Great Replacement’). However, the extent to which RWE ideology differs and adapts according to more localised conditions – especially in Australia – remains unclear. In this paper, I present a study of far-right ‘news’ websites in Australia, including XYZ, Freedom & Heritage, and The Richardson Post. These websites present far-right content to their readers, but importantly, they frame this as pseudo-journalistic content – typically to fill a perceived gap in the mainstream media, which they see as dominated by the political left. While these websites do not necessarily promote terroristic or violent extremist content, they contain extreme digital speech, which helps to spread far-right hatred to a wider audience. These websites are understudied compared to far-right content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Gab. Studying them provides crucial insights into the ideological markers of far-right extremism in Australia.
Dr Keiran Hardy is a Senior Lecturer in the Griffith Criminology Institute. His research investigates counter-terrorism law and policy, countering violent extremism, and right-wing extremism.