The agreement outlines a range of measures for tackling xenophobia, including:
“Investing in ethical reporting standards and advertising and stopping allocation of public funding or material support to media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants, in full respect for the freedom of the media.”
What does this mean?
UN member states have recognised that an ethical approach to advertising has a key role in tackling xenophobia and promoting “evidence-based public discourse” around migration. By endorsing plans to end public funding for media outlets that promote xenophobia and racism, 190 out of 193 governments have agreed in principle to stop funding hate.
Stop Funding Hate campaign
In May 2017, the Stop Funding Hate campaign spoke on a panel at the United Nations in Geneva during the first “informal thematic session” of member states negotiating the UN Global Compact on Migration.
The campaign had been invited to put forward ideas for ways that UN member states could tackle xenophobia. They made the case that:
“If we want to tackle xenophobia effectively then we have to talk to advertisers and encourage them to switch their advertising away from publications that demonise migrants… UN Member States can lead by example by publicly committing to the principle of ethical advertising – and ensuring that any government advertising campaigns are not channelled through media that have a track record of inciting hatred.”
This proposal received strong backing from member states during the meeting – with both Estonia and Belgium publicly expressing support.
Stop Funding Hate was subsequently invited to talk more about the idea at the November 2017 United Nations Global Forum on Business and Human Rights.
That month, Stop Funding Hate also gave a presentation at the International Parliamentary Union’s Migration Conference in Malta, where their proposition on ethical advertising was warmly endorsed by parliamentarians from several UN member states.
What happens next?
UN member states are due to meet in Morocco on 10-11 December on the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights – to formally adopt the Global Compact for Migration and discuss its implementation.
What is the wider significance of this?
The basic principle behind Stop Funding Hate, Sleeping Giants and other consumer-driven anti-hate campaigns has been formally recognised and endorsed within a United Nations global agreement.
The UN Global Compact for Migration draws on - and will now become part of - the international framework of global agreements and treaties which follow from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
UN member states have clearly recognised that there is no contradiction between respecting media freedom and ensuring that media outlets who fuel racism and xenophobia are not actively given public funds.
The commitment from UN member states will set a precedent for businesses, charities and NGOs to follow. This is another major step towards a world where media hate is no longer profitable.
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