Why free speech would be the victim of Stop Funding Hate’s righteous march

Lego stormtroopers

On the march: Campaigners are seeking to silent newspapers they judge to be publishing offensive and inaccurate stories

THE hypocrisy of some supporters of the Stop Funding Hate campaign is startling.

Do they not see that the biliousness of their own attacks on tabloid newspapers undermine their claims to be champions of a fairer society?

Are they not as guilty of fomenting hatred as the subjects of their ire?

Stop Funding Hate objects to newspapers it accuses of “promoting hatred, discrimination and demonisation”.

Chiefly, it is angered by headlines about child refugees and the recent ruling by High Court judges that Parliament must be consulted before Article 50 is triggered to begin negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Its assertive approach includes pressurising businesses such as Lego, John Lewis and Lidl into withdrawing advertising and promotional activities from those papers whose views it finds offensive.

To be clear, I am not attempting here to defend the opinions of newspapers. But I do defend their right to hold and express them.

The necessity to listen to voices we object to is the price we pay for being able to have our own say. And that is what underpins all our freedoms.

Stop Funding Hate should expose what it sees as the absurdities, inaccuracies or injustices of some newspaper stories with passionate but reasoned debate.

Instead, it is whipping up hysteria (a tactic it accuses newspapers of using) in an attempt to put them out of business, to shut them up forever, with its call for an advertisers’ boycott.

It is a chilling response.

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About John Wilson

Group deputy editor of the Worcester News, Berrow's Worcester Journal, Malvern Gazette and Evesham Journalist. Journalist for more than 30 years.
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