Recent Freedom of Information requests have revealed that the Home Office has paid over quarter of a million pounds to the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph in 2014, for sponsored articles, advertorials and digital advertising.
Last year, a number of advertorials were published in the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph which were sponsored by the Home Office to the tune of £279,000. There were five sponsored print advertorials in the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday’s YOU magazine as well as two sponsored articles on the Daily Mail Online website. The Home Office also entered into similar arrangements with the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph.
The subject of the paid-for awareness raising campaign was modern-day slavery. It began in July 2014, to target those super-exploiting workers in agriculture, hospitality or construction and suggested that those vulnerable to such might be eastern European (e.g. from Slovakia or Poland) or African or Asian men and women. However, one piece by Daily Mail Online in October 2014: ‘“They said they’d murder me if I left”: Beaten and starved, 40-year-old man kept as a slave in ‘concentration camp’ conditions FINALLY sees his captors brought to justice,’ did not examine the the exploitation of eastern Europeans at all but the exploitation of a vulnerable British man by a Traveller family.
Home Office spending on such awareness campaigns is obviously not new, the recent controversial ‘Go Home’ vans campaign cost £9,740. And the Home Office (under Labour), paid £400,000 to Steadfast Television, for a behind the scenes programme, UK Border Force, for Sky.