Inspire are #makingastand with the Sun…

The Sun’s front page on 8th October 2014

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Today I read this article, part of Roy Greenslade’s media blog at the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/oct/08/sun-isis

The Sun newspaper is very publicly proclaiming its support for the #makingastand campaign by Inspire, an NGO which aims to counter extremism and gender inequality by empowering British Muslim women (http://www.wewillinspire.com/about-us/)

In last week’s session we discussed the concepts of “echo chambers” – or preaching to the converted.

The readership of The Sun, which is the highest out of all daily papers in the UK, can be thought of as ranging from fairly apolitical, through to right wing and even hostile to minorities in society. So, if you can get your campaign covered (positively) by the Sun, you’ve generally hit the jackpot as a campaigns communicator.

Whether we could cynically say The Sun, which is traditionally divisive, is trying to score political points by siding with this kind of ‘unity’ campaign could be its own blogpost…but I did think it was really interesting that the campaign explicitly says to British Muslim women that they are powerful, strong leaders, yet has partnered with the Sun. In the video of the launch, viewable on Roy Greenslade’s piece, Sara Khan, director of Inspire, directs this at the women who have gone to join ISIL:

” you’ve bought into a patriarchal ideology which seeks to treat women as second class citizens”

I will note that Page 3 was obvious in its omission from today’s edition of the paper.

Good for #makingastand though. A campaign led by minority groups – women, Muslims – hitting the mainstream. I’d be really interested to see some poll work on the effect this campaign has on the readership’s attitudes.

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2 thoughts on “Inspire are #makingastand with the Sun…

  1. simonjhanna says:

    When I first skimmed through this post and saw The Sun, and a quote saying “you’ve bought into a patriarchal ideology which seeks to treat women as second class citizens”, I assumed it was in reference to the newspaper itself.

    This is an interesting post, because I think many campaign groups that are dealing with the rights or behaviour of women and minorities would very much view The Sun as part of the problem.

    Can you “Empower British Muslim Women” by cooperating with a publication which is sexist and xenophobic?

    As you rightly say, the sun has the highest readership of any newspaper in the country so it’s clearly a formidable ally. But I do wonder if Inspire are using the Sun, or if the Sun are using Inspire. If they get their message across, does it really it matter?

    Part of this makes me uncomfortable. I’m not sure if it’s an ethical issue – that I reject cooperation with a peddler of sexism and xenophobia, or whether it’s a narrative issue. You question whether this campaign would have an effect on the reader’s attitudes, but does this campaign in anyway challenge the attitudes that might be expected of its readership? I think The Sun, and other publications like it, has a narrative which says ‘we’re not against muslims, as such, just as long as you do as we do, act like we act, talk like we talk etc’. Isn’t this very much the same message of this campaign, as embodied by the front page picture?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sarageorgina says:

    Yes Simon you’ve covered pretty much all of my thoughts on this one here!

    On one hand it’s great to get campaign coverage, particularly if it showcases to people who normally wouldn’t be reached; on the other, is it compromising your own values to associate with an organisation that, as you said, could be described as xenophobic, and at the very least is contributing to the hatred we’re seeing in society?

    Before this blogpost I didn’t really know much about Inspire but thinking about it now, if their aim is to counter extremism and gender inequality by empowering British Muslim women, perhaps part of achieving that empowerment involves displaying the ‘norms’ for British women in society: having a voice, being patriotic etc so that the general population stop seeing British Muslim women as ‘the other’ and starts allowing them a stake in civil society? (Seeing it all from what I imagine is the Sun readerships’s perspective, of course!)

    More thinking needed on this I think!

    Like

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