'Negative Corbyn press coverage is boosting our ranks' claims Momentum as editors call on Labour to 'clarify' press freedom stance

High profile attacks on Jeremy Corbyn from the right-wing press are leading to large numbers of voters joining Labour campaign group Momentum, according to new research from the organisation.

The report, seen by Press Gazette but which Momentum is not sharing publicly, claims 250 new members joined the group on 21 January  following a Sunday Times splash, headlined: “Corbyn allies plot to oust 50 Labour MPs.”

In the four days following its publication, Momentum adds that 554 members joined – the highest in any four-day period since September 2017.

The organisation often uses negative press attention as a promotional tool. Job adverts that use negative headlines from the Daily Mail on Facebook reach up to ten times as many people as ordinary posts, it claims.

Momentum national co-ordinator Laura Parker said: “Labour’s extraordinary result in the last election showed that tabloids run by tax-dodging press barons do not decide elections.

“But the fact that attacks by the right wing press have actually increased support for Momentum shows how low they have sunk in the eyes of the public.

“Being hated by the Daily Mail has become a seal of approval and, for most people, their criticism is actually an endorsement.

“This is obviously a dire state of affairs, only made worse when the Sun and others engage in botched smear attempts such as the bogus Czech spy story this past week.

“We have a right to a free press which holds the powerful to account. This will never happen if so many papers are controlled by billionaire tax exiles, a problem Theresa May clearly has no desire to tackle.”

Meanwhile, the Society of Editors has called on Corbyn to clarify his stance on press freedom following a personal video in which he warned press owners that “change is coming”.

The Labour leader had been responding to claims in national newspapers, first reported by The Sun, that he met a communist spy during the cold war.

The Sun said the public interest in publishing the stories was “blindingly obvious” after Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson likened news coverage to “propaganda”.

Executive director, Ian Murray, said: “The Society of Editors does not align itself with any political party nor stance, however we do stand for a free press, a self-regulated press, and we are concerned that in his statement Mr Corbyn appears to be suggesting Labour have plans to change the media landscape in the UK.

“If that is the case then we would ask him to clarify what those proposed changes are and to urge him to resist any temptation to attempt to silence voices that may be opposed to his point of view through press restrictions.

“The media in the UK is rightly held up as a beacon of freedom throughout the world, particularly in those countries where politicians and rulers close down any voices of opposition to their power.

“While we are pleased to note that Mr Corbyn recognises the role of a free press in a free society, he has also announced that Labour does have plans to change the media landscape in some way.

“The Society calls on Mr Corbyn to explain what changes his party has in mind so that these can be openly debated.”

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2 thoughts on “'Negative Corbyn press coverage is boosting our ranks' claims Momentum as editors call on Labour to 'clarify' press freedom stance”

  1. Without taking sides, it is utterly bizarre that win or lose, regardless if a case is frivolous and without merit, the Press pays all the costs.

    That is not natural justice — and for all you EU and Human Rights haters (or nutcases) — that law would never last because it breeches Article 6, The Right to a Fair Trial.

    No trial can be “fair” when the effects of the trial is the winner is punished.

    Mad, but that is the de facto state of this rapidly declining country which no longer “rules the waves” whilst becoming a laughing-stock of ridicule and insignificance.

    One year left to obtain a replacement nationality to ensure EU citizenship.

  2. Section 40, which Labour backs, will force struggling local and regional newspapers to pay all of both sides’ legal costs in defamation and data protection cases, even if the lawsuits are completely frivolous and the newspaper wins.

    The costs from just one or two of those frivolous cases would be sufficient to shut down many local and regional papers across the UK, causing hundreds, if not thousands, of redundancies – not to mention an appalling lack of scrutiny and oversight of a large number of coroners’ courts, criminal courts, council chambers and so on.

    It’s indefensible and outrageous that Labour is proudly backing a measure which would inevitably leave many people jobless and many more at the mercy of unchecked power. Corbyn must reverse his party’s position on this immediately. The proposed legislation is demonstrably wrong, dangerous and fascist in nature.

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