John Wilson, of the Worcester News, has criticised Stop Funding Hate, which is pressuring large businesses including banks and supermarkets to stop advertising in certain papers including the Daily Mail and The Sun.
Toy manufacturer Lego has already said it is “not planning any future promotional activity” with the Mail in a correspondence with the group on social media.
But, writing on his personal blog, John said there was a “startling” hypocrisy from some of Stop Funding hate’s supporters.
He wrote: “Do they not see that the biliousness of their own attacks on tabloid newspapers undermine their claims to be champions of a fairer society? Are they not as guilty of fomenting hatred as the subjects of their ire?
“Stop Funding Hate objects to newspapers it accuses of ‘promoting hatred, discrimination and demonisation’. Chiefly, it is angered by headlines about child refugees and the recent ruling by High Court judges that Parliament must be consulted before Article 50 is triggered to begin negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.”
“To be clear, I am not attempting here to defend the opinions of newspapers. But I do defend their right to hold and express them.
“The necessity to listen to voices we object to is the price we pay for being able to have our own say. And that is what underpins all our freedoms.
He added: “Stop Funding Hate should expose what it sees as the absurdities, inaccuracies or injustices of some newspaper stories with passionate but reasoned debate.
“Instead, it is whipping up hysteria (a tactic it accuses newspapers of using) in an attempt to put them out of business, to shut them up forever, with its call for an advertisers’ boycott. It is a chilling response.”
John told HTFP: “The misconception seems to have developed in recent years that newspapers have no right to be partisan. They have their roots in political pamphlets of the 17th and 18th centuries and, unlike BBC news which is obliged by its royal charter to be impartial, are free to take stances on issues.
“Questioning what newspapers say is healthy; depriving them of their ability to say it is downright dangerous.”
In the Mail’s coverage of the High Court’s decision, the paper referred to the judges as ‘Enemies of the people’ and referenced the fact that one them was “openly gay.”
HTFP has asked Stop Funding Hate for a comment.