Baroness Warsi and more than a dozen other high profile politicians from across the political spectrum have signed an open letter coordinated by Hacked Off and Media Diversity Institute demanding IPSO act to stop racist and faith-based attacks in the media, citing some egregious examples and pointing to the real damage done to vulnerable groups.
John Barnes MBE, Faith Matters, Global Justice Now, CLASS think tank and Show Racism the Red Card have also signed among 20 civil society groups and individuals.
People are still adding their names now and sharing the letter and petition on Twitter under the hashtag #RacismInThePress.
Hacked Off’s Executive Director Kyle Taylor responds to IPSO,
“It is upsetting that Sir Alan believes “the real issue” “is how to strike a balance between the freedom of a journalist or newspaper to offend a group while protecting individuals.” The real issue is that IPSO seems to think this is the balance that needs to be struck! It’s simple: don’t be racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic or discriminatory of an entire group of people. Is IPSO suggesting that journalists and newspapers are somehow incapable of writing stories or opinion without offending a group?
“We believe strongly in a free, thriving press and have defended journalists striking over pay and conditions. Still, we believe in the right for all in society to speak freely this is an extension of free speech not an attack on it. We are merely asking IPSO to grant marginalised communities the right to make complaints on the basis of group discrimination.
“It is also deeply worrying that Sir Alan implies they have absolutely no control or influence over the code they are empowered to enforce. If that is truly the case – and IPSO believes they’re hamstrung by this – then we welcome their joining us in our campaign to change the Editors’ Code by which they are bound. Indeed, I have already written to Sir Alan asking if he would like to add his name, though I note he has not yet written inviting us as a signatory to – as he says – “engage directly” – with the regulator.”
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