An anti-racism campaign launched by The Sun has drawn a mixed reaction today amid signs the new editor could be steering the paper in a new direction.
Rupert Murdoch’s red top has been heavily criticised in the past for fuelling xenophobia in Britain, with Len McCluskey famously calling its reporters “professional racists” in a strongly-worded speech.
The paper was singled out for ‘fuelling prejudice’ in a report released in 2016 investigating hate speech” and discrimination in the UK.
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) took aim at some British media outlets, particularly tabloid newspapers, for “offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology”.
It cited Katie Hopkins’ infamous column in the paper, where she likened refugees to “cockroaches” and sparked a blistering response from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the same newspaper’s debunked claim over “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”.
Time For Change
Yet there are signs that it could be changing tack under its new editor Victoria Newton, who was appointed to the position earlier this year.
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, it hosted a panel probing UK racism, with Anthony Joshua, BLM protest hero Patrick Hutchinson, Stuart Lawrence – brother of murdered teenager Stephen – campaigner Trevor Phillips and education reformer Katharine Birbalsingh among the members.
Gary Lineker tweeted:
Hopefully, this is an important step in the right direction for the newspaper under its new editor. ?? https://t.co/wAq6ysp3Dq— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 7, 2020
But others were less optimistic:
The same newspaper that has constantly fuelled racism over the years – f*ck The Sun pic.twitter.com/2vMmnD2agk— Alex Nelson (@alexnelson_18) July 7, 2020
The Sun lecturing on racism in the UK is the equivalent of Gerry and Kate McCann hosting a parenting class on zoom whilst sat in a Portuguese wine bar https://t.co/IW07AFok4V— Amos (@amoosmurphy) July 7, 2020
Great British Culture War
TLE contributor James Melville cited the red top among a raft of right wing newspapers that have been successful in starting a culture war in Britain.
He said “our society must become intolerant of intolerance” in response to the “normalised hatred” that is played out in our media.
Read the piece in full here.