The North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner has backed a campaign aiming to put right wing papers out of business because of their reporting on mass-immigration and Brexit.
Arfon Jones, a member of the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru party, called red tops “hate rags” and said it was “pathetic” for firms to continue placing advertisements in them.
He made the comments in support of Stop Funding Hate, an online campaign pressuring businesses into withdrawing advertising from newspapers, such as the Daily Mail, until they fold or move their editorial line in a left-wing direction.
In the name of “tolerance”, the campaigns aim to silence views they disagree with by labeling them “hate”.
“Help us take on the divisive hate campaigns of the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express by persuading advertisers to pull their support… we don’t want our cash to help finance [the paper’s] hate campaigns”, they urge the public on their Facebook page.
The movement has already persuaded Lego – a $5 billion business – to withdraw all advertising from the Daily Mail because of its reporting of Brexit legal challenges and “child refugees”.
— Arfon Jones (@ArfonJ) November 13, 2016
Unlike Lego, retail chain John Lewis has resisted pressure. “We fully appreciate the strength of feeling on this issue but never make an editorial judgement on a particular newspaper”, they wrote on Twitter.
Former police inspector and now Plaid Cymru party Police Commissioner Jones, 60, was unimpressed, responding: “Pathetic and unacceptable answer from @johnlewisretail in response to my request to stop advertising in the hate rags.”
Police and crime commissioners are elected police employees charged with presiding over efficient and effective policing across large areas of the country.
Right wing tabloids also scrutinise and sometimes report negatively on the police, and Mr. Jones’s lack of support for a free press has been criticised.
A couple of months ago, the Daily Mail ran the headline: “Sussex police and crime commissioner probed over expenses claims.”
In 2014, the paper reported: “Police Crime Commissioner who can’t list her duties, can’t describe crimes and can’t write her title (but she has got a £15,000 bus called ‘Ann Force 1’)”.