A new campaign is targeting advertisers in a bid to shut down newspapers that report crime committed by migrants, rather than covering it up.
The Stop Funding Hate campaign is urging companies to pull advertising from the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Express, claiming that they use âfear and division to sell more papersâ.Â The campaignâs founder, Richard Wilson, called the newspapers’ reporting of migrants “toxic”.
Wilson, an NGO worker, believes Stop Funding Hate will be successful because the Â public donât want to be âinadvertently complicitâ in âhate campaignsâ, which he compared to the BNP.
The groupâs first campaign seeks to persuade Virgin Media to âtake a stand against racismâ by pulling advertising from the Sun.
A petition to Virgin Mediaâs CEO by the campaign charges the Sun of âmisleading reportingâ and âplaying off one group against another in pursuit of a divisive political agendaâ.
The plea contends that the Sunâs âdemonisation of immigrantsâ Â claims the Sunâs headlines led to âa wave of violence against immigrant familiesâ.
Recalling multi-millionaire, island-owning Richard Bransonâs criticism of âanti-immigrant rhetoricâ, when he accused politicians of âpandering to unfounded anxieties and exaggerated fearsâ the petition argues that pulling Sun advertising would make a âbold stand for unity and toleranceâ.
Wilson stated: âOnly a relatively small proportion of the population actually buy these newspapers, but they are everywhere. So even if you donât personally buy them, the chances are you are shopping with a company that is helping to finance their activities.
âIâve been a Virgin customer, for example. We donât want to be inadvertently complicit in these hate campaigns through being customers of these companiesâ.
A promotional video on the groupâs Facebook page claims âsociety is being poisoned by headlines selling hatredâ, and displays a series of Daily Mail front pages with headlines such as âMigrants Threaten to Kill Truckersâ and â4,000 Foreign Rapists and Murderers We Canât Throw Outâ.
The video asserts thatÂ âhate paysâ, and tells viewersÂ they can stop this by joining the campaign, as âwhen advertisers start buying less ad space, printing hatred becomes bad businessâ.
Stop Funding Hateâs video says advertisers âspend a fortune promoting brand values like honesty, decency and inclusivity.
âSo if they pay for ads in papers that deal in hate, prejudice and lies, we will call them out.â
Wilson said the group is âfully in favour of freedom of expression and believe that a free press plays a vital role in a democratic societyâ and that the role of the government in tackling hate speech is a âcontentious issueâ.
âSo this campaign is not proposing any kind of state action beyond the laws that already exist on incitement to racial hatred.
âThe UN High Commissioner for Human Rights would actually go further than what weâre saying – heâs asked the UK government to take stronger action against hate speech – but just as we wouldnât want our money being used to help fund the BNP or Britain First, we donât want our cash to help finance the Sun, Daily Express and Daily Mailâs hate campaigns,â the campaigner added.