The tabloids’ aggressive response to Stop Funding Hate’s Paperchase victory shows they’re feeling the heat

21 November 2017

The last few days have seen the question of advertising in the hate-filled right-wing media back in the news after a partnership between Paperchase and the Daily Mail on Saturday led to a customer backlash.

Thousands of Paperchase customers complained in store and online – often extremely politely – about the company’s wrapping paper giveaway in Saturday’s Mail, and Paperchase issued an apology on Twitter Monday afternoon promising "We're truly sorry and we won't ever do it again”.

Perhaps predictably, the Mail has not taken this well, describing the campaign as an attack on free speech and – in a description that shows a remarkable lack of self-awareness – accusing the campaigners of being a small self-appointed mob bullying their way to their political objectives.

As we’ve found from our campaign calling on M&S to stop advertising in the Mail, attempting to blur the difference between free speech and hate speech is the standard defence of this sort of so-called journalism. But there is a BIG difference between the two.

Free speech vs hate speech

We strongly believe in everyone’s right to free speech. But this doesn’t mean that the media should be allowed an unchallenged platform upon which to promote xenophobia, racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. This is not 'fearless' journalism, as the Mail would have it - it is hate.

We need to have zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination, in all its forms. And that includes when newspapers like the Daily Mail regularly publish negative and hateful stories targeting specific sections of society, from migrants to trans people. These hateful stories in the media are fuelling real violence on the streets of the UK - something a report for the University of Leicester has confirmed.

That’s why we support the campaign asking companies to stop funding – through their advertising – outlets that promote hate speech and xenophobia. (It's also why we’ve called for an inquiry into hate speech and Islamophobia in the media).

We need to resist any attempt by these outlets to pretend that this campaign is in any way about curtailing free speech. We all have a right to debate issues such as migration, culture and race-relations. What is not acceptable is hate.

So we will continue to fight on this issue and support our friends at Stop Funding Hate who do a fantastic job in the campaign against hate speech. And the fact that the Mail and their partners in crime at the Express have reacted so badly to this latest setback suggests the campaign is beginning it bite.

Photo: Bill Hutton/Flickr



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