By Khalea Robertson
On Friday 4th November, UEA’s Migrant Solidarity Campaign, in conjunction with People and Planet’s Undoing Borders campaign, will be carrying out a day of action protesting the inflammatory and discriminatory reporting of the Daily Express, particularly in relation to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The campaign targets Specsavers, a major advertiser in the Daily Express.
Why the Daily Express?
Here are some sample headlines from the newspaper:
* How Mass Migration May Kill Off Core British Traditions Such as Christmas
* Migrants Take All New Jobs in Britain (N.B. ‘all’ was emboldened by the Daily Express, not me)
* We Must Stop the Migrant Invasion
* 12 000 Asylum Seekers Vanish… and that’s just the ones the Home Office knows about
What is the problem with these headlines? They are either flat out wrong or have wildly and deliberately misconstrued or exaggerated facts. Take for instance the last headline. It was based off a report from the Home Office which stated that one in six asylum seekers (amounting to a little less than 12 000 people) do not show up for their first interview (N.B. ‘first’ was emboldened by me, not the Daily Express). This figure, however, includes asylum seekers that attended later meetings, as was clarified in an article by the Huffington Post which also included this quote from the Policy Director of the charity Refugee Council:
“There are many legitimate reasons why people may miss appointments with the Home Office; they may never have actually been informed about the appointment in the first place, they may not have been able to arrange childcare or they simply may not have had the bus fare to get there.”
The Daily Express is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation which requires that its members “take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information” and “must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact”. They must then be taken to task for failing to meet these standards.
In September, public backlash prompted Specsavers to withdraw a front page advertisement from the Daily Express. The advert, which featured the slogan “Just what you’ve been waiting to hear”, was placed directly underneath an article warning of “roaming gangs of migrants” (the words ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum seeker’ are never used in the article) at the migrant and refugee camp in Calais known as ‘the Jungle’.
Specsavers’ retraction opened the door to calls for the company to completely stop any kind of promotion in the newspaper in order to divest irresponsible media of crucial advertising money.
Therefore, on the day of action, the Migrant Solidarity Campaign stands with the Undoing Borders Campaign to demand that Specsavers stop being #BlindToHate and remove itself from the #DailyHateExpress.