Stop Funding Hate changes its stance on the Daily Express

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Stop Funding Hate is reclassifying the Daily Express as ‘under review’.

Coverage from the Daily Express has significantly changed since February 2018. After consultation with supporters and partners, we are changing how we campaign on the paper.

From August 2016 until now

When Stop Funding Hate began in August 2016, the campaign’s core focus was on the Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Sun. These three newspapers had recently been called out by the United Nations, and the headlines and articles had become increasingly hateful, most notably towards migrants.

Now, in July 2018, things have changed. Hundreds of thousands of people have joined the campaign, the list of ethical advertisers is growing and, most importantly, newspaper coverage has improved.

The Daily Express has changed

The biggest change we’ve seen has been from the Daily Express. In 2016 there were over 70 front pages featuring migrants, the majority of which were negative. This year, there have been three – and none since the new Editor started in February 2018, following a change in ownership.

Our own research backs this up. We have been checking the Daily Express every day and have only called them out publicly twice since February. On 6 June they ran the headline “Why do we fall for this transgender lunacy?” and on 4 April they ran an article which included the line “this transgender nonsense”. We in no way want to minimise the effect of articles such as this; media hostility towards transgender people has serious consequences, and Stop Funding Hate is committed to supporting transgender rights. But, we think it’s time to recognise that the Express has improved their coverage overall. And by placing the paper ‘under review’, we can do this while still keeping an eye on their coverage of trans, and other, issues.

Daily Express Editor admits he’s ‘uncomfortable’ with coverage

In April, the new Editor, Gary Jones, appeared before the Home Affairs Committee on Hate Crime and Its Violent Consequences, saying:

“I think that each and every editor has a responsibility for every single word that’s published in their newspaper. And yes, cumulatively, some of the headlines that have appeared in the past have created an Islamophobic sentiment, which I find uncomfortable.”

“I have gone through a lot of former Express front pages and I felt very uncomfortable looking at them. Individually, they may not present specific issues. There have been accuracy issues on some of them and some of them are just downright offensive, and I wouldn’t want to be party to any newspaper that would publish such material.”

What did Stop Funding Hate supporters say?

In April 2018 we opened up the conversation to find out what supporters think. There were mixed reactions, but the majority of people felt that we should give credit where it’s due so as not to undermine the main goal of the campaign. For example, one comment said:

“If you do not praise the change, it would be unethical and absolutely reduce the SFH credibility in the eyes of businesses.”

People felt that we should be cautious in proclaiming ‘success’ – and we agree. That’s why we’re placing the ‘under review’ rather than making a more definitive judgement.

What does this mean for Stop Funding Hate?

This does not mean that we’ll ignore the Express completely. We’ll keep a close eye on their coverage (as we’ve been doing for the last few months) and listen carefully to any concerns raised by Stop Funding Hate partners and supporters. But we believe that it’s important to give credit where it’s due and focus our energies where they’re needed most.

Stop Funding Hate’s mission is to make hate unprofitable, and it appears that hate has now taken a sustained break from the pages of the Express. It may not be permanent, but for now we’ll be focusing on where media hate is most prevalent as we continue to review our long-term strategy.