Senior politicians have accused the UK’s largest press regulator of failing to take action against racism and Islamophobia in the press and â€œturning a blind eyeâ€� to the incitement of hatred.
Labour MP David Lammy, ex-Conservative Party co-chairman Baroness Warsi and former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas are among 26 politicians to call for action in an open letter, published today.
Campaign groups Media Diversified, Hacked Off and the Media Diversity Institute organised the letter, which has been sent to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.
IPSO regulates the majority of UK national newspapers and magazines. It has yet to respond to the claims set out in the letter.
Other signatories include more than 20 civil society groups, individual campaigners and academics, including Stand Up to Racism, NUJ ethics council chairman Chris Frost and ex-Liverpool footballer John Barnes.
The open letter to IPSO reads: â€œRacist and faith-based attacks against communities are so common in parts of the press that they have become a dangerous normality.
â€œIt 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.â€�
It went on: â€œBy allowing these abuses to go on without sanction you are turning a blind eye to the continuing incitement of hatred.
â€œWe 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.â€�
Hacked Off executive director Kyle Taylor said racism and Islamophobia in the media had reached â€œfever pitchâ€� and had done â€œboundless harmâ€� to marginalised communities.
He added: â€œWhile much of the racism we see in the press is subtle and pernicious, even the most striking cases of racial prejudice are not seen as code breaches by IPSO and in many cases there exists no grounds on which to make a complaint.
â€œIPSO must recognise that racist portrayals of groups in the press can harm all who come from that community and risk inciting violence against these groups.
“For the sake of minority communities across the UK, IPSO must reform and stand on the side of truth.â€�
The open letter refers to columns by Rod Liddle and Katie Hopkins among others.
Signatories of the open letter have shared it on social media using the hashtag #RacismInThePress.
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Source: Digital Journalism