The Swedish cider manufacturer pats itself on the shoulder: “Kopparberg is a drink for everyone.” The Grolsch brewery prides itself on its “core values of inclusiveness and openness for everyone”.
The Open University is based on its mission to be “open to people, places, methods and ideals”.
And the furniture company Ikea is famous for its “humanistic values”.
What connects the companies is that, despite their pledges to serve the community, they have bowed to pressure from online activists to initiate a boycott of the UK news channel GB News, which has been broadcasting since Sunday.
Behind this is the organization “Stop Funding Hate”.
She claims to stand up for "all human rights" and to oppose "all forms of discrimination" in her fight against "toxic media".
"Stop Funding Hate" had already decided long before the first program was broadcast that GB News was "toxic" with the stated aim of creating a counterbalance to the prevailing left-liberal orthodoxy of the British media. At the beginning of February, the self-proclaimed moral guardians called on their supporters to threaten mobile phone companies with the hashtag #DontFundGBNews to switch providers if the companies thought of advertising on the new station. Hours before GB News launched, one of the activists knew GB News was spreading “toxic propaganda” and called for an ad boycott. Others pilloried the providers who had advertised in the first few hours of broadcast on Sunday.
From Nivea and Bosch to Vodafone and the online platform Pinterest, one group after the other gave in immediately and announced that they would be withdrawing their businesses until further notice. Since GB News has delegated the sale of advertising time to Sky Media, most companies pretended not to have known that their ads ran on GB News. Like Ikea, they claim to first want to check whether the content of the station is in line with their “company values”.
Culture Minister Oliver Dowden said it is up to every company where they advertise. However, it is worrying when companies bow to pressure from interest groups. After all, GB News is regulated by the Ofcom media regulator and must meet the same standards as any other British broadcaster. Dowden described the UK's resilient, free and diverse media landscape as "the cornerstone of our freedoms".
But what about these freedoms, tolerance and media pluralism when the economy kneels before activists who believe that morals are the norm and that rule the UK viewers News does not belong to the totality of the people to whom the companies claim to be directed? Openness and inclusiveness are apparently only reserved for those who think alike.