Stop Funding Hate began when a group of people came together online to express concern at the way certain newspapers were using hate and division to drive sales. The campaign was launched in August 2016, in a year which saw an unprecedented number of negative headlines about migrants and refugees in the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Express.
And, sadly, this wasn’t something new. Minorities and vulnerable groups have been experiencing hate in the media for decades. In 2015 the UN Human Rights Chief, UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, made a powerful statement about these newspapers, urging the UK to examine incitement to hatred in the UK media, and specifically calling out the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express for their sustained attack on refugees and migrants.
“Under the guise of freedom of expression, [the media is] being allowed to feed a vicious cycle of vilification, intolerance and politicization of migrants.” – Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN Human Rights Chief
The consequences of media hate
This has devastating consequences. Hate crime is currently on the rise, which experts link to negative media coverage. For example, according to the University of Cambridge and the Economic and Social Research Council:
“Mainstream media reporting about Muslim communities is contributing to an atmosphere of rising hostility towards Muslims in Britain”.
And the same can be said for other groups, such as refugees, migrants, the LTBTQI community, people with disabilities, and many more.
But there is a way to make positive change. By letting advertisers know that we don’t want out money funding hate, we can have an effect. Since Stop Funding Hate began, companies such as Lego and Body Shop have changed their advertising and hundreds of thousands of us have made our voices heard.
Find out how you can get involved in Stop Funding Hate.
Ethical advertising is growing
Since 2016, a lot has changed. The list of ethical advertisers is growing all the time. And there have been significant changes in the media and for companies. A few highlights include:
- Following successful action from Stop Funding Hate supporters on Twitter, the Daily Mail has turned off all online adverts on comment pieces, proving that hate can be made unprofitable.
- In May 2018, an amazing 96% of Co-op members voted for our ethical advertising AGM motion, urging the company to do a full review of their advertising policy and report this back to members.
- Ethical advertising is gaining traction. In February 2018, Unilever issued a public statement committing to an ethical advertising stance and Stop Funding Hate is working with United Nations and the advertising industry to bring the issue into the mainstream.
- In late 2018, Stop Funding Hate secured wording in the United Nationals Global Compact on Migration, committing the 152 signatory nations to not funding media that promotes hate, including through advertising.
The media improves
In July 2018, Stop Funding Hate changed its stance on the Daily Express. The paper would still be monitored, but was placed ‘under review’, meaning we would no longer be actively campaigning for advertisers to pull their support.
This was backed up by research and the views of Stop Funding Hate supporters. In 2018, there have only been three front pages about migrants, and none since a new Editor took over in February. In 2016, there were over 70 migrant front pages, nearly all of which were negative. This change is, of course, conditional, and we will still call out examples where the Express crosses the line.
Across all three of the campaign’s target newspapers, there has been a marked reduction in the number of hateful headlines and articles. When the Daily Mail replaced its Editor in 2018, it announced plans to “detoxify”. And the Sun’s Managing Editor apologised for a notorious 2015 article in which a columnist likened migrants to “cockroaches” and a “plague of feral humans”.
Such a change is excellent news and would not have been possible without the thousands of Stop Funding Hate supporters who make their voices heard every day. Our goal is to make hate unprofitable – and together we’re making it happen.
“I do not think there is any defence for the language she used. We can cherish freedom of expression, but using language like “cockroaches” is certainly not appropriate and I apologise for that.” – Paul Clarkson, Managing Editor of the Sun