Saturday, November 27

UK Backtracks Fight Against Media Racism, Warns New Voice Editor | National newspapers

The new editor of Britain’s only black national newspaper has warned that the UK is regressing in recognition of institutional racism in the media and in society at large.

Lester Holloway, who was announced Thursday as the editor of Voice, said the original statement by the Society of Publishers that the UK media was not racist or intolerant, and that he vigorously disputed claims that negative coverage of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was motivated by racism. , was part of a broader “regression” in recognizing and fighting racial inequality.

He pointed to the government’s racial report, which was criticized for downplaying structural racism, and the metropolitan police chief’s recent denials that the force was institutionally racist, as part of a troubling trend.

Lester holloway
Lester Holloway: “There is an absolute need for the black press because it is a voice without filters.”

While welcoming the retraction of the new director of the organization representing British newspaper publishers, he said it took too long for society to come to the conclusion that the media was institutionally racist.

“What we’ve seen in the last 20 years since Stephen Lawrence and the Macpherson investigation is a regression on issues of recognition of institutional racism,” Holloway said. “We have gone back 20 years, if not more, only in recent times. The comments of the former director of the Society of Publishers on institutional racism fit that picture. It’s very worrying and we definitely have to change that course. “

Holloway said the Voice, founded in 1982, had a vital role to play in tackling the erosion of progress made in race relations in the UK. “There is an absolute need for the black press because it is an unfiltered voice,” he said.

“We have a role to play in crafting these arguments and popularizing these arguments as well … to give people hope that we can campaign against these things and turn the tide.”

Holloway has a long history working in black British media. He was previously a news editor at Voice and was editor of New Nation, a now-defunct rival publication. He is also an activist who has worked for Operation Black Vote and the Union Congress as an anti-racism policy officer.

He believes that media outlets like Voice have a particularly important role to play during the Black Lives Matter era, after the assassination of George Floyd in the US sparked the largest anti-racist mobilizations in British history.

“We all know what systemic racism is like because we experience it on a regular basis. Therefore, the approach has to be more than a conveyor belt of bad news. You have to move things forward. As for the role of the Voice, it is about agitation, accountability and keeping the feet of politicians on fire. But it’s also about messaging the key demands and trying to make some profit for the community as a whole. And I think that’s really the black media tradition, ”he said.

Holloway welcomed the recent hiring of correspondents who specialize in race by major newspapers and called for other newspapers to follow suit. He said the national media still had a long way to go to ensure that there were more black personnel in key positions.

Until then, “black media still has a purpose because it reflects aspects of community life, which we don’t always see in the mainstream. It’s about that conversation within the community, ”he said.

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