<p>Culture secretary Oliver Dowden exits 10 Downing Street on 17 March, 2021 in London, England. Mr Downden is facing scrutiny after appearing to wrongly claim a Cornwall theatre visited by Jill Biden on Saturday received Covid funding.</p>

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden exits 10 Downing Street on 17 March, 2021 in London, England. Mr Downden is facing scrutiny after appearing to wrongly claim a Cornwall theatre visited by Jill Biden on Saturday received Covid funding.

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Swapping digital, culture, media and sport for digital culture wars, government minister Oliver Dowden has said that freedom of expression is at risk of being undermined by a “small but vocal minority” – following the decision by several brands to suspend advertising on the controversial news channel GB News.

Ikea, Octopus Energy and the cider firm Kopparberg are among those who have pulled ads from the broadcaster, which has been described as ‘anti-woke’ and likened to the right-wing Fox News in the US.

GB News chairman Andrew Neil doesn’t like that comparison, though, and he also doesn’t like advertisers pulling ads from his news channel, proclaiming that “woke nonsense has reached the boardroom”.

Speaking during his programme on Friday, Neil took aim at the social media campaign Stop Funding Hate and said: “So far, not a single example of hate has been given in evidence to justify the boycott of this channel, but this programme offers a standing invitation to the bosses of any company or agency that thinks to the contrary … our studio door is always open.”

Now, it appears as though the culture secretary also supports GB News amid the boycott by the big brands, writing in The Sunday Telegraph that “a vocal Twitter minority” had gone after “the right to dissent” and a “free and diverse media”.

“Across the West, our values of tolerance and freedom of expression, for which previous generations have fought and died, increasingly risk being undermined by a small but vocal minority.

“For them, these are not absolute but relative concepts, ready to be bent to silence dissent from their world view,” Mr Dowden said.

However, such an intervention from the Tory MP has already been ridiculed online:

Because nothing screams ‘anti-democratic’ more than shoppers having their say and asking advertisers to spend their money elsewhere…

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