The industry press body IPSO is failing to protect minorities from press discrimination. The so-called ‘regulator’ refuses to take complaints about discriminatory language aimed at minority groups seriously  making them complicit in the hate directed at minority ethnic communities. At this point every member of every vulnerable minority knows IPSO cannot and will not protect them, even from the cruellest press abuse.

“Is it possible to draw Serena Williams without being racist?” The Spectator

“These migrants are like cockroaches” The Sun

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 Undersigned

Join us – sign this petition urging IPSO to address this problem urgently and publicly  Tweet #RacismInThePress @IpsoNews  Coordinated by Hacked Off and The Media Diversity Institute

“Tis the season of bombers and Uber drivers who haven’t eaten for 20 hours – welcome to the Midsummer madness of Ramadan” Daily Mail

“What will we do about the Muslim Problem then?” The Sun

Baroness Warsi
Baroness Lister
Baroness Osamor
Cllr Hashim Bhatti
Kate Osamor MP
Chi Onwurah MP
Debbie Abrahams MP
John Cryer MP
Faisal Rashid MP
Tan Dhesi MP
Mohammad Yasin MP
Catherine West MP
Naz Shah MP
Virendra Sharma MP
Keith Vaz MP
Valerie Vaz MP
Shabana Mahmood MP
David Lammy MP
Yasmin Qureshi MP
Marsha De Cordova MP
Preet Gill MP
Clive Lewis MP
Kate Hollern MP
Clare Hepworth OBE
Caroline Lucas MP
Karen Buck MP
National Sikh Youth Federation
Jennifer Nadel and Matt Hawkins, Co-Founders of Compassion in Politics.
James O’Brien
Lisa Moorish
Jack McGuinness
Dermot O’Leary
Denise Welch
Hannah Weller
Jess Phillips MP Labour
Mo George
Sandy Martin MP Labour
Andy Slaughter MP Labour
Migrant Voices
Tim Fenton
Rachael Maskell MP
Dr Faith Gordon
Wera Hobhouse MP
Geraint Davies MP
Peter Kyle MP
Bianca Jagger
Sharon Hodgson MP
Steve Coogan
Ian Lucas MP
Salma Yaqoob
Baroness Judith Jolly
Lord David Alton
Lord David Steel
Baroness Haleh Afshar
Lord Neil Kinnock
Wes Streeting MP
Lord Tom McNally
Lady Glenys Thornton
Lord Soley
Lord Frank Judd
Julie Elliott MP
Joanna Cherry MP
The Bishop of St Albans
Tom Brake MP
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
Norman Lamb MP
Stephen Kinnock MP
Lord Filkin
Sajda Mughal OBE, CEO JAN Trust
Media Reform Coalition
War on Want
Fair Vote UK
Global Justice Now
Fran Boait, Executive Director of Positive Money
Faiza Shaheen, CLASS
Alaphia Zoyab, Campaigner
Yvonne MacNamara CEO The Traveller Movement
Chris Frost, Chair of the NUJ Ethics Council
James Curran Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths University
Prof. Jonathan Hardy, University of East London
Ged Grebby CEO, Show Racism The Red Card
Einar Thorsen Professor of Communication, Bournemouth University
Steve Turner, Unite Assistant General Secretary
Gareth Lowe, Unite
The Media Fund
African Women’s Welfare Association
Nigerian Organisation of Women
Stand Up to Racism
Interfaith Glasgow
John Barnes MBE
Sikh Federation UK
Dr. Shahidha Bari, Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London


In a response to this open letter published by Press gazette, IPSO chairman Sir Alan Moses said: “IPSO rejects the accusation that it condones religious and race-based hate or in any way approves of offensive attacks on groups on the grounds of their beliefs or identity.

“Our decisions on discrimination and accuracy make it clear that a finding that there has been no breach of the Editors’ Code does not in any way imply that IPSO approves of what has been written.

“The real issue, with which the letter fails to grapple, is how to strike a balance between the freedom of a journalist or newspaper to offend a group while protecting individuals.”

“We work every day to make these difficult judgments; we seek to maintain the balance between freedom of expression and protecting the public.

“A solution to the important problems of where and how the line is to be drawn is not going to be found by the misleading and distorted picture of IPSO’s work, particularly in the misuse of statistics.”

Sir Alan added that IPSO was “not complacent” about editorial standards on discrimination and that it had written to signatories of the open letter inviting them to “engage directly” with the regulator.

Hacked Off’s Executive Director Kyle Taylor responds to IPSO,

“It is upsetting that Sir Alan believes “the real issue” “is how to strike a balance between the freedom of a journalist or newspaper to offend a group while protecting individuals.” The real issue is that IPSO seems to think this is the balance that needs to be struck! It’s simple: don’t be racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic or discriminatory of an entire group of people. Is IPSO suggesting that journalists and newspapers are somehow incapable of writing stories or opinion without offending a group?We believe strongly in a free, thriving press and have defended journalists striking over pay and conditions.Still, we believe in the right for all in society to speak freely, what we are asking for is an extension of free speech not an attack on it. We are merely asking IPSO to grant marginalised communities the right to make complaints on the basis of group discrimination.

It is also deeply worrying that Sir Alan implies they have absolutely no control or influence over the code they are empowered to enforce. If that is truly the case – and IPSO believes they’re hamstrung by this – then we welcome their joining us in our campaign to change the Editors’ Code by which they are bound. Indeed, I have already written to Sir Alan asking if he would like to add his name, though I note he has not yet written inviting us as a signatory to – as he says – “engage directly” – with the regulator.”

One thought on “Open Letter: The industry press body IPSO is failing to protect minorities from press discrimination

  1. If a regular member of the public were to say these things or outwardly encourage others to hate; then there would be consequences.

    The press are technically free to abuse, as if the law doesn’t apply to them.

    Suing the press civilly is beyond 99% of the population, and the Criminal System seems too scared to do so.

    So if you are a racist, homophobe, bigot or elitist and can write well, the press is a great place for you!


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