Runnymede Director Dr Omar Khan joined a list of more than 50 signatories to a letter in the Guardian
, which highlighted the hateful and unfounded bias of a Daily Mail story on 'foreign' drivers using mobile phones at the wheel.
The original Daily Mail article, the front page story on Wednesday 2 November 2016, gave the false impression that foreigners represented a particular cause for concern when it comes to texting while driving. There is no evidence to support this assumption and it is almost certainly untrue.
Academics, leading lawyers and prominent representatives of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities were among those so moved by the incendiary headline and story to put their names on record, along with Runnymede, to say as much.
You can find a full list of the signatories to the letter here on the Guardian website.
See below the full text from the letter:
"We write with great concern following the Daily Mail’s front page of 2 November. Texting while driving has been one of the biggest causes of car-related deaths in the UK and it is important that in the case described in the Mail’s report, justice was served for the victims of this appalling tragedy caused by the dangerous driving of the driver.
Yet almost 100,000 people were caught by police last year for using a mobile phone behind the wheel, the vast majority of whom were almost certainly not foreign. By highlighting the unlawful use of mobile phones by foreign truck drivers alone, the Mail propagates the idea that foreign truckers are more likely to engage in this behaviour.
This is an unjustifiable slur with no evidence that incites hatred and ill-feeling towards the “other”, while doing little to advance the Mail’s goal of toughening law enforcement, or supporting the families of those killed in this incident. In a climate where hate crime against minority communities is on the rise, many have already publicly commented on how they believe such a front page article to be wholly irresponsible.
There is no doubt in our minds that reporting the news is a force for good, as it uncovers the truth and informs our society. We only hope that the Mail is able to reflect on whether its coverage of minority groups in our society does indeed uphold the highest professional standards of responsible journalism, or rather fuels divisions with real-life consequences."