By Tim Hardy
Tabloid newspapers have a long history of attacking the most vulnerable.
No wonder David Cameron is proud to count their editors among his closest friends and eager to use their ex-employees to craft his lies.
But the latest accusations against News of the World show a new low even for them.
News of the World journalists intercepted – and deleted – the voicemail messages of Milly Dowler.
The messages were deleted by journalists in the first few days after Milly’s disappearance in order to free up space for more messages. As a result friends and relatives of Milly concluded wrongly that she might still be alive. Police feared evidence may have been destroyed.
Over the last couple of months, disabled rights groups and activists like Disabled People Against Cuts and the Broken of Britain, benefits claimants vilified by the Daily Mail and others have been looking for a way to fight back against the bullies of the Fourth Estate.
We have discussed the idea of hitting the worst of the red tops where it hurts: in the wallet.
Boycotting a paper is no good if you don’t read it in the first place. But you can still take action that will hurt them financially.
Newspapers engage in vile practices to make money and that money comes from advertising revenue, not the cover price.
Contact the companies that advertise in the News of the World requesting that they withdraw their adverts and you will hurt these disgusting individuals more than stern words from an ombudsman will ever do.
Targeting advertisers works. The Stop Beck campaign in the US managed to convince more than 300 advertisers not to place ads on Glenn Beck’s Fox show, leading to its cancellation.
Sadly none of us have had the time to get this idea off the ground and build a campaign structure.
But it can no longer wait.
People on twitter, some inspired by a tweet from Simon Bradshaw, have already begun identifying and contacting companies that advertise with News of the World including Virgin Wines, PC World, Comet, Cadbury, Halifax and T-Mobile.
As many people as possible need to contact these companies and ask them to reconsider their tacit support through advertising for a newspaper that acts this way. By sharing the names and contact details of companies who advertise in it, we can work together to put a stop to these practices.
At the same time, why not join Avaaz in telling Jeremy Hunt to stop Rupert Murdoch’s power grab? News of the World is just one face of a media empire with a malign influence.
If you’re free on Friday afternoon, join @cantstopanidea and Rage Against The Murdoch. Facebook groups discussing actions include Boycott News Of The World and News Of The World’s treatment of Milly Dowler’s family is sickening.
The gutter press is out of control. Cameron will not do anything against his friends. Labour were happy to collude with them when they were in power. We cannot wait for politicians to tackle this. It’s up to us to stop it.
[Edit: See The campaign for an advertiser boycott of NotW at Liberal Conspiracy for updates on news and ways to get involved.]