Sun and Mail named in Council of Europe report claiming tabloids push 'hate speech'

Tabloid newspapers including The Sun and Daily Mail have come under fire for “hate speech” headlines that “encourage prejudice” in a report by a European human rights body that also calls for a change to the editors’ code.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), part of the Council of Europe, has raised concerns that “hate speech in some traditional media, particularly tabloid newspapers, continues to be a problem”.

Its latest report, published this week, was prepared following a visit to the UK in November 2015 and takes account of developments between 2009 and March this year.

In it the ECRI said “biased or ill-founded information” that “may contribute to perpetuating stereotypes” was still being disseminated by some sections of the British media.

It added tabloid newspapers were “responsible for most of the offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology”.

In highlighting this, the body pointed to Katie Hopkin’s opinion piece published in The Sun in April 2015, titled “Rescue boats? I’d use gunships to stop migrants”, in which the columnist likened migrants to “cockroaches”.

It also accused The Sun of publishing “inflammatory anti-Mulsim headlines”, such as its front page (pictured) “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis” in November 2015 that featured the image of a masked terrorist with a knife.

The ECRI said “unscrupulous press reporting targeting LGBT” was also a concern and pointed to an article in the Daily Mail in March 2013 that outed a trans schoolteacher who later committed suicide as a result.

In its report, the body recommended clause 12 of the editors’ code, on discrimination, be amended to allow groups to submit complaints against biased or prejudicial reporting concerning their community.

Currently the code is restricted to individuals.

The body also called for British authorities to find a way to establish an independent press regulator according to the recommendations set out in the Leveson Report and recommended more “rigorous training” for journalists to ensure better compliance with ethical standards.

It said the Independent Press Standards Organisation, while supported by large sections of the press, “has been criticised for not meeting the standards of independence and effectiveness recommended in the Leveson Report”.

It said IPSO’s Editors’ Code of Practice Committee was “made up predominantly of serving editors”, adding: “IPSO makes provision for investigations but the procedure is cumbersome with many opportunities for the target newspaper to obstruct and delay.”

The report added: “ECRI regrets that a way has not been found to establish an independent press regulator and that, as a result, certain tabloids continue to publish offensive material, as indicated above.

“ECRI urges the media to take stock of the importance of responsible reporting, not only to avoid perpetuating prejudice and biased information, but also to avoid harm to targeted persons or vulnerable groups.

“ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent ISIS-related terrorist acts around the world, fuelling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety.”

The Council of Europe, which has 47 European member states, is separate from the European Union; however no country has ever joined the EU without first belonging to the council.

Comments

7 thoughts on “Sun and Mail named in Council of Europe report claiming tabloids push 'hate speech'”

  1. Is this organisation going to try to gag every paper that (in their opinion) uses hate speech. By doing this they are allowing only one side of a debate or argument to be heard through the press, a trick Hitler used in the run up to him taking control of Germany. If you censor the press you censor free speech. Do these people who come up with this kind of censoring think that the people who read it can’t make their own minds up about the content, or are they just trying to close down anything that might cause debate on articles they find sensitive. Let the readers see the rantings of any moron who writes it, and let them make their own mind up about the reasoning behind it. Or are they classing us all feeble minded, and they are the only ones who can decide what we should read because they are above us.

    1. Apparently people do eat up whatever the papers say, lies or not, and especially if it matches their own fear and xenophobia. The authors of the report don’t at all mention ‘gagging’ newspapers – unless you would call recommending using words like ‘people’ instead of ‘cockroaches’ gagging? Such dehumanising language is truly disguising, and I’m not sure why anyone would defence or support it; they would have top be quite a hateful person not to see the damage which language does in terms of legitimising bigotry and violence. Free speech only applies in as much as it doesn’t breach other people’s rights. I could stand outside your house with a megaphone shouting bigot at your living room window 24 hours a day. I would be exercising my right to free speech, but this would infringe on your right to privacy and not to be harassed. The Sun and the Mail are standing above Britain with a megaphone spouting lies and encouraging hate, which leads to violence and discrimination – both of which infringe on people’s right to be treated equally and fairly, not to be subject to violence, and not to be subject to discrimination in public life, employment, education etc. I hope that clears up you’re incredibly ignorant comment.

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