What if the power to change the media was in your hands?
Nearly all major UK phone companies advertise in the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Express. But that could change. It’s time to ask them to #StartSpreadingLove and #StopFundingHate.
The first step is to make every company aware that we don’t want our mobile phone bills funding hate. Imagine what could happen if every phone company heard from all of us. Make your own video message, tweet your providers or send them an email. All the info is on our Start Spreading Love page.
What’s the background?
Most of us still support the basic human values that bring people together: Love, kindness, compassion, and respect for others, whatever their religion, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.
Yet our mobile phone companies regularly advertise in newspapers that divide us against each other. The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express have all been called out by the United Nations over their hostile coverage:
“This vicious verbal assault on migrants and asylum seekers in the UK tabloid press has continued unchallenged…for far too long.”
– Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN Human Rights Chief.
And as hate crime has risen in the UK over the last two years, experts have warned that this is being fuelled by hate in our media:
“One key difference in the recent spate of hate incidents is that this behaviour has been fuelled and legitimised by…the media.”
– Professor Neil Chakraborti, University of Leicester.
Vodafone, EE, O2, Three, BT, Plusnet and Sky are all regular advertisers in the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Express.
But companies do care what their customers think. Our role as consumers gives us a voice. And if enough of us use our phones to ask our mobile providers to #StopFundingHate, the message will start to get through. Find your mobile phone provider and let them know that you don’t want your communications funding hate.
Who’s backing the campaign?
Citizens UK’s migrant youth led campaign group Stand Up Stand Out are partnering with this campaign. Their fearless activism led them to Body Shop’s headquarters on Valentine’s Day 2017, which played a huge part in persuading the Body Shop to end its promotions with the Daily Mail.
Leading hate crime monitoring organisation Tell MAMA is also calling on mobile companies to stop funding hate.
“We see in Tell MAMA how derogatory and anti-Muslim comments are made against members of the public who happen to be Muslim and which reflect terms and statements in major headlines in some tabloids. There are real and direct impacts from headlines that are developed to sell papers and which malign whole communities… Do advertisers really want to be associated with such actions?”
– Fiyaz Mughal, Tell MAMA founder.
The National Union of Students supports the campaign, with Vice President Ali Milani saying:
“The Student Movement has long been fighting for a fairer, more just society. We have always rejected hate and division in favour of unity through education. The divisive and hateful rhetoric printed by some of our mainstream press, often aimed at students and Students’ Unions, must be stood up against. We have the power through collective action to change things. That is why we are so proud to stand behind this campaign and work with all our commercial partners so that we all #StopFundingHate.”
What can we achieve?
Stop Funding Hate exists to make hate unprofitable. We need to change the business model of hate so that publishing stories which demonise migrants, Muslims and other minority groups costs newspapers more in lost advertising than it makes them in sales.
Mobile phone companies are a huge part of this. Nearly all the major UK providers advertise regularly and most of us have a phone contract. Our phones can bring us together. We text, email and call our loved ones every day. But in doing so, we’re funding hate through paying our bills to providers that advertise in hateful newspapers. However, these companies do care what we think, especially as it’s so easy to switch.
There is now a growing list of companies who have made a positive decision to advertise ethically, including the Phone Co-op, a mobile and broadband provider who were also the first UK company to make such a commitment.
Every brand that commits to ethical advertising takes us another step closer to a media free from hate and discrimination. As more companies switch their advertising away from publications that stir up hatred – and towards those that report accurately and fairly – this helps cancel out the financial incentives that fuel ever-more extreme coverage.
The power to change our media is literally in our hands. Take step one and help spread the word to mobile phone companies and our fellow customers – we don’t want our communications funding hate.