SEVERAL LEADING black figures from the worlds of politics, sport and grassroots campaigning have signed a letter to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), the body which regulates most of the UK’s newspapers and magazines, strongly attacking reporting which encourages faith and race hate attacks.
Among those who have signed the letter are MPs Kate Osamor, David Lammy and Clive Lewis, former Liverpool star John Barnes, campaigners such as Show Racism the Red Card and the African Women’s Welfare Association.
The letter, co-ordinated by Hacked Off, a campaign established following the phone hack-
ing revelations that led to the closure of the News of the World, says that in one year, there were 8,000 complaints of discriminatory media reporting – yet IPSO upheld only one.
The signees also expressed their disappointment in IPSO’s failure to initiate dialogue with newspaper and magazine editors about more accurate portrayals of people from BAME communities.
The letter reads:
Dear Independent Press Standards Organisation,
Racist and faith-based attacks against communities are so common in parts of the press that they have become a dangerous normality. It is clear that these attacks encourage the discrimination, harassment and violence suffered by members of minority communities every day.
Yet you have taken no action. In respect of each of the examples cited in this letter, you have not upheld a single complaint. In one entire year, of over 8000 discrimination complaints, you upheld only one.
By allowing these abuses to go on without sanction you are turning a blind eye to the continuing incitement of hatred.
We write to express our deep dismay and to ask you to address this problem urgently and publicly. While the press must be free to do its job, your implicit condoning of religious and race-based hate must stop.
The Hacked Off letter comes after Manchester City and England footballer Raheem Sterling, left, criticised newspapers of fuelling racism with their portrayal of young black footballers after facing alleged racist abuse after a recent match against Chelsea.