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Just Not Funny

March 13, 2012

Just Not Funny Campaign

Foundations:
This campaign launched in March 2012 . Its ultimate mandate is to challenge comedy that mocks disability and it aims to do so by galvanising the support of individuals and charities.

Who are we:
This campaign is supported by like-minded individuals and charitable organisations, who are increasingly concerned by the lack of protection for this most vulnerable section of society. The Just Not Funny Campaign will nominate key spokes-people who are able from their own personal experience to voice a response. The campaign is determined to avoid becoming the lone and subjective voice of a single individual, but rather to harness the collective passion of its grassroots supporters worldwide.

We do not hold ourselves out as experts in any particular disability, but recognise the damage that results from reckless humour and profiteering at the expense of the disabled. We care about individuals who do not have a platform from which to respond. Simply speaking we believe that comedy which targets disability and mocks the disabled has no place in contemporary society. It is Just Not Funny.

Where are We:
The campaign is not limited by geography. It has been established through the medium of social network sites: twitter and facebook. Wherever you are around the world, if you support our campaign you can ‘friend’ us or ‘like’ our campaign page on facebook or follow or retweet our message on twitter.

About Us:
We seek to challenge comedy that is being arrogantly offensive towards people who have a disability. When comedians through their comedy further demonish a section of society which already has enough to contend with. Disability hate crimes have reportedly risen by 20%-source: same difference blog, 2011. Comedy that vindicates or encourages such hatred is Just Not Funny and should rightfully be challenged.

We will engage political support and where appropriate write and inform media broadcasters the views of our supporters, and challenge them to consider what they are encouraging society to laugh at.

We appreciate that we are living in a democracy and therefore freedom of speech should not be unduly curtailed. Whilst the the Equality Act 2010 specifically excludes broadcasting, we feel strongly that there are lines which must be drawn when vulnerable minority groups are targeted for the sake of controversial humour. Although such comedy may not intend offence, this does not justify recklessness and broadcasters have a moral and social responsibility to consider their content. The Just Not Funny campaign will set out to hold broadcasters to account for their programming wherever it is felt to negatively affect the public perception of any disabled group or individual.

Comedy that uses aggressive language to target, bully, or marginalise a person with a disability is unacceptable . Often offensive comedy seeks to justify itself as satire and /or irony with the purported aim of itself raising awareness of prejudice in society. The Just Not Funny campaign will not be fobbed off by pseudo intellectual argument and will judge comedy on the basis of its impact on the disabled. We will not be afraid to call a spade a spade where we see exploitative humour at the expense of the vulnerable. We are not against comedy that is inclusive of disability, we can all laugh at ourselves. However we seek to distinguish when the audience is interpreting such humour ‘with’ the disabled or ‘at’ the disabled. The arbitrator of such offence must surely be the minority group affected.

The national press is also a representation of civil society in a democracy; therefore we will also monitor the response of the public through national media as another determining factor of when comedy has crossed a line.

Get involved:
We literally cannot do this without your support. This is a movement and not a charity. We are not asking for your money, but your eyes, your ears and above all else your voice. Please inform us when you feel that comedy has targeted disability and together we can challenge more effectively . Please bring to our attention any relevant media coverage, video clips, or stories of your own personal experience where you feel this is relevant to the campaign. Thank you for your support.

If you are very passionate about this campaign through your own personal experiences, please get in touch with your local MP and help to galvanise political support for JustNotFunny campaign. Email your MP or visit them at surgery and explain how comedy that targets disability personally affects you. Please contact us and let us know how you got on.

Keep it Clean:
Obviously we understand the passions that underly these issues, but we do not believe it is right to fight bullying with bullying. The administrator of this campaign on facebook will actively monitor debates and discussions which take place. If a debate arises where an individual uses obscene language toward another or behaves in a bullying, aggressive or unduly personal tone then your posting will be moderated. Please keep the debate clean and respectful to others at all times in keeping with the spirit of what we are trying to achieve.

Contact Us:
The Administrator of the Just Not Funny campaign can be contacted through facebook and on twitter @just_notfunny. Or alternatively by email: justnotfunnycampaign@googlemail.com

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