The Daily Mail has a new front-page headline that describes the UK as ‘the land of the free’ and highlights a number of prominent people who have signed up for a free-speech argument.
‘I want to say that I am free to express myself, even in the most extreme and outrageous ways, as long as I’m doing so without fear of reprisal,’ the headline reads.
The paper has previously defended some of its most controversial stories, including a piece about a man who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for having sex with a goat and an article on the sexual exploitation of children in a South Africa church.
‘A lot of people are upset at the way in which the Mail has portrayed its relationship with the UK,’ said Sarah Hennessey, a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia’s School of Journalism.
‘But the paper has not changed its approach to this.’
The Mail’s coverage of the UK has been critical of the country’s immigration policies and has repeatedly criticized Britain’s immigration minister, Damian Green.
The Mail has also reported on anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, and it has been accused of using ‘Nazi propaganda’ in the past.
‘This is the first time that I have seen the Mail use a headline like that,’ said Hennesey.
‘They have not changed their tone, but they have certainly changed their tactics.’
Hennesysays a key part of the newspaper’s strategy has been to portray itself as a media watchdog.
‘The Mail has been a reliable source of news and information for many years, and its readership is growing,’ said David Loynes, senior lecturer in media studies at the Royal United Services Institute.
‘It is important that it reflects this public’s concerns, which is why it has become so important for newspapers to show the public the right balance between free speech and the need to maintain public trust.’