Message from the founders
Campaign against Misrepresentation in Public Affairs, Information and the News
We formed CAMPAIN to fight back against the growth of misinformation and misrepresentation, and lack of fact checking, in Britain’s news media. The problem is illustrated by events leading to the invasion of Iraq, the concealment of the facts of the hacking scandal over many years, inaccurate allegations about Muslims, and partisan reporting of politicians who blatantly misinform the public.
This is very damaging to our democracy. At the very least, it compromises our ability to make rational decisions, and in the worst cases it corrodes our civil liberties, freedom of speech and association, and creates a climate of fear and self-censorship. We have observed the latter in the chorus of evidence-lite (i.e. unsubstantiated) allegations about rampant antisemitism in the Labour party that reached fever-pitch after it elected Jeremy Corbyn as leader in 2015. Since then, these allegations have continued unabated and materially affected voting in the General Election of 2019.
We also note a sort of "journalistic apartheid", whereby the mainstream media frequently reports people supporting the dominant media narrative, while ignoring highly knowledgeable and qualified people on the other side of the argument.
George W. Bush and Tony Blair preparing for war in 2003
Rupert Murdoch with Rebecca Brooks. Murdoch was the key cheerleader for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and his group at the heart of the Hacking scandal.
Lord Justice Leveson, who recommended tough independent regulation of the press in the light of the hacking scandal and other events - which Government has failed to implement.
Paul Dacre, former Editor of the Daily Mail and inveterate opponent of Justice Leveson's regulatory proposals, saying that IPSO, a press-owned body answerable to Dacre and other press magnates, is "‘the toughest press regulator in the free world’. Johnson is now eyeing him as Chair of Ofcom, with power over the BBC and other broadcasters.
The Home Affairs Committee grilling Sir Alan Moses, CEO of the press regulator IPSO, in Feb 2018: there had been 8,148 complaints about discrimination, towards Muslims, but IPSO had only upheld one.
Many people have contributed to the chorus of allegations about antisemitism in Labour, but the Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland has, arguably, been the leading actor. This article by a former Guardian columnist illustrates the pressure upon journalists to self-censor and conform to the dominant narrative. .
As you will see from our Mission Statement, CAMPAIN has no party-political affiliation nor sympathies. We speak for all those, including Conservatives, SNP supporters, Lib Dems, Greens and others who care about fair play and the health of our democracy, and oppose lying and smearing in public life. It is time to treat this as a national problem that affects us all.
We invite you to join us, read our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Our purpose is to explain to the public the harmful impact of misinformation and misrepresentation and act to bring it to an end. We shall moreover seek to work closely with other bodies with similar and overlapping aims.