This paper engages with the perception that the UK media was instrumental in promoting racism and xenophobia in the period before the UK EU referendum. Furthermore, that this promotion led to actual hate crimes within the UK: How and why this occurred are central research issues. However, a further question is why no prosecution took place of either individuals within the media, or media companies themselves, promoting such rhetoric. Primary data analysis consisted of surveying newspaper content, online or otherwise, and particularly the tabloid press, but also EU reports, legislation, including Article 10 and 10.2 European Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of Expression), and European Court of Human Rights cases. Academic literature on Racism and Xenophobia, and their encouragement was utilised. The conclusions revealed weaknesses in the perception, identification and prosecution of ‘hate speech’ and racist and xenophobic material. Moreover, that prosecution has also proven problematic because of competing notions of ‘Freedom of Expression’ for individuals and organisations. However, regarding the media, the internal procedures, lack of adherence to ethical standards and lack of compulsory external regulation, further enabled such content. The effect cannot be conclusively determined, although spikes in recorded hate crimes coincided with virulent media content.


  • In the United Kingdom (UK), various opinion polls have been conducted since the 2016 European Union (EU) referendum. (European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance, 2016)

  • In the UK, various opinion polls have been conducted since the 2016 EU referendum. (European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance, 2016)

  • Whilst the police and the Crown Prosecution Service are equipped and do prosecute individuals engaging in hate speech: the report found that the criminal law has not been used against a media outlet for many years, and never for engaging in ‘hate speech’ in relation to any person or group of persons on the basis of a protected characteristic” . . . There is no mechanism by which the very powerful British print media may be held to account for the disparagement of a group of persons on the basis of a protected characteristic (Article 19, 2018, March 1st, p.4)

Read more



In the UK, various opinion polls have been conducted since the 2016 EU referendum. (European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance, 2016). As a result of the latter, “more than one million people arrived in (the UK in) one of the biggest waves of immigration seen in this country.” (Johnson, 2013, January 17) Government ministers, seeing potential similarities and fears, utilised The Telegraph to reassure readers that the 2004 situation would not be repeated They were subsequently criticised for being unable to provide” reassuring figures” (Dominiczak, 2013). There is no denying that her article in The Sun, a tabloid newspaper, likening refugees to cockroaches, was potentially highly inflammatory, and subsequently criticised by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (Plunkett, 2016, July 28; Stone, 2015) To many her words were perceived as offensive, but not necessarily inciting violence or genocide to which she claimed to be unaware. Will discuss the difficulties encountered during and following the Leveson Inquiry

Regulating Derogatory or Inflammatory Content
The European Convention on Human Rights and Xenophobia and Racism

Full Text

Published Version
Open DOI Link

Get access to 115M+ research papers

Discover from 40M+ Open access, 2M+ Pre-prints, 9.5M Topics and 32K+ Journals.

Sign Up Now! It's FREE

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call