Digital campaign 'did not connect' with communities

Searchlight's failure raises questions over comms effectiveness of online tactics.

Questions have been asked about a recent UK campaign 'to counter racism and fascism', following the BNP's success in the European elections.

The Hope Not Hate campaign was founded by anti-fascist magazine Searchlight and had been worked on by Blue State Digital, the consultancy behind Barack Obama's online success.

The campaign had aimed to stop the BNP winning a seat in the European election.

Stuart Bruce, MD of Wolfstar, was not convinced that YouTube attack videos and mobilising activists via the internet was an effective approach. He said: 'The professional classes may be motivated to go out and campaign, but it did not connect with people in the communities being targeted by the BNP. The proportion of people that a digital campaign could reach in these communities is tiny.'

But Daljit Bhurji, MD of Diffusion PR, said: 'The BNP's inability to use the mainstream media to spread their message makes the internet a vital component of its campaigning strategy. The internet must become a key battleground in the fight against the BNP.'

Searchlight editor Nick Lowles said: 'Our online campaign is only one element and cannot defeat the BNP on its own.'

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