Stop Funding Hate is threatening Press freedom by pressuring advertisers to boycott newspapers that do not share its political views, the UK advertising trade body has warned.
The Advertising Association threw its weight behind the Daily Mail and other titles targeted by the far-Left campaign, saying their editorial policies should ‘not be subject to external threats and intimidation’. It said: ‘Media owners must be free to determine their editorial policies…
‘This process should not be subject to external threats and intimidation, nor direct or indirect commercial pressure from advertisers, or we put our free and competitive Press at risk.’
The Advertising Association warned Stop Funding Hate is threatening Press freedom by pressuring advertisers to boycott newspapers
Stop Funding Hate is a small lobby group of hard-Left pro-Remain Corbynistas, who use social media to pressure advertisers to stop doing business with popular newspapers that do not share its political views – the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and The Sun.
The Advertising Association condemned its actions after Paperchase became one of the few retailers to succumb to pressure.
The gift-wrapping and greetings card chain became a target after it ran a promotion in Saturday’s Daily Mail offering readers two free rolls of wrapping paper.
Stop Funding Hate hounded Paperchase on Twitter to the point that bosses panicked and issued a grovelling apology for doing business with this newspaper. The retailer quickly faced another backlash – from customers and commentators furious at its ‘cowardly’ response.
And later, Stop Funding Hate’s founder, Richard Wilson, admitted that it wants to force newspapers to follow its editorial line on controversial issues. ‘The end point for us is a media that does the job we all want it to,’ he told BBC2’s Newsnight.
Yesterday, the Advertising Association warned: ‘The UK has a free Press and advertising plays a vital role in funding that free Press, which in turn plays a vital part in protecting our democratic freedoms. We believe pressure-group lobbying of this kind has negative implications for our Press freedom, by seeking to harm newspapers’ commercial interests and thereby influencing their editorial policy.’
It applauded the majority of retailers – such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer – which have stood firm against Stop Funding Hate’s threats.
Stop Funding Hate’s founder, Richard Wilson, admitted that it wants to force newspapers to follow its editorial line on controversial issues
‘Advertisers are free to choose where they do and don’t advertise and should do so based on what they believe will work best for their customers and their brands, not on the media’s editorial stance,’ it said.
The Advertising Association’s views were echoed by the newspaper industry trade body.
A spokesman for the News Media Association said: ‘The industry condemns the actions of political activist groups such as Stop Funding Hate which seek to bully and manipulate advertisers into changing their advertising strategies to further their own Press censorship aims.
‘We stand together with advertisers and media agencies in wholeheartedly rejecting this attempted commercial censorship.’
Stop Funding Hate defended its campaign, saying: ‘The Daily Mail has the right to print what it likes within the law, and we all have the right to choose not to fund it…
‘Stop Funding Hate is all about polite and friendly customer engagement. Most people in Britain have little power, but one thing we can do is use our voices as consumers.’