How did MFW start?
On January 4 back in 2016, Peter Dutton (then Australia’s Immigration Minister and Federal Liberal Member for Dickson) called the Sunday Telegraph’s political editor, Samantha Maiden, “a mad fucking witch” in a text message he intended for a fellow MP but accidentally sent to the journalist herself. This created a media furore and motivated MFW’s founder to create a Facebook page to commemorate the moment.
Over the next four years, MFW continued to call out misogyny, racism, ableism, LGBTQIA+ issues and politics (particularly asylum seekers and the climate crisis), using an angry, sweary style which appealed to an audience tired of the growing inequality and lack of compassion evident in Australia’s federal government.
During that time, the MFW team have been able to develop a unique ability to position a topical moment and expand on the context and impact. Their MFW voices not only educate but combat an apathetic Australian media landscape which doesn’t suit the needs and wishes of so many Aussies who long for a more progressive and inclusive political and media environment.
Who are we?
We are the Witches: everyday people like you. We comprise 75 percent women and 25 percent men (yes, our male supporters are Witches, too), and are of all ages, ethnicities and political persuasions. We’re your mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, your friend and your foe. We’re essentially a group of people scared and angry at the increasing tide of extremist rhetoric fueling a resurgence in neo-liberal discrimination, inequality and inequity.
What do we do?
In recent years, MFW have evolved into an organisation which campaigns to highlight and prevent the blatant misinformation and lies promulgated by many people in Australia’s mainstream media. In 2019 our first target was 2GB’s Alan Jones, after he asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “shove a sock” down NZ PM Jacinda Ardern’s throat, and to “give her a few backhanders”.
Many thousands of our Witches joined the campaign to call on Jones to apologise and fix this misogyny, or for 2GB to sack him if he refused. For nine months Witches contacted 2GB’s advertisers and asked them to withdraw their ads from programs promoting such outrageous violence, and in May 2020, Jones was finally off the airwaves after costing 2GB around 24 million dollars in lost advertising revenue.
After this spectacular victory, we turned our sights on to other disgraceful media operators. We were instrumental in having Pauline Hanson dropped from her position commentating on the Today TV show for overt racism, and Sam Newman was also dropped from The Footy Show for his horrific comments about murdered American man George Floyd.
Now, we’re campaigning to stop the lies, racism, political propaganda, misogyny and science denial promulgated by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp organisation. A few months into this campaign, Witches asked us to widen our campaign to include other often despicable reporting and opinion in the media. These shock jocks of the news cycle need to change their ways, or stop operating in Australia. Check out Our Campaigns page for further information.
Why do we do it?
We want Australia to be a better place. A place where lies and propaganda and the promotion of violence have no place in our media and our politics, and where diversity and a fair go for all are our most important values.
Most importantly, we want Australian politics to operate fairly, without the undue influence and lies which flow from media organisations protecting their own interests rather than operating in the best interests of all Australians.
How does this help?
If we can reduce Rupert Murdoch’s influence in Australian politics, force him to change how his journalists report and force advertisers tp stop funding this and other shock jock media, we’ll have a media which reports the news rather than propaganda, ‘opinion’ and outright lies. This is so important for all of us. All we want is a fair, impartial media without the corruption which has occurred when one man owns 70 percent of our print media and is not constrained by laws which might prevent him from telling lies to achieve his political and financial goals. Read more about Our Campaigns.
Where are we based?
We started in Australia, but have Witches all over the world from places including New Zealand, the US, the UK, Europe, Canada and South America. Anyone who cares about a fair media and a better, more progressive world is welcome to follow the Witches.
Are we on social media?
Our biggest presence is on Facebook where we began. As we expanded onto Twitter and Insta our following continued to grow and we now have over 120,000 Witches combined. You can find links to our social media on each page and we’d be delighted if you would amplify our voice to reach more people who might join our causes.
Join our socials.
What causes do we champion?
The main issues Witches are concerned about are:
– climate crisis;
– feminist issues (including violence against women, reproductive rights, women’s empowerment and equality, and intersectional feminist causes such as transgender issues, Indigenous rights, and the rights of disabled women);
– asylum seeker rights; and
– progressive political causes (including the rights of poor and disadvantaged, diversity rights, progressive taxation, eliminating political corruption and the implementation of truth in media laws).
How do I learn more about the issues?
We write daily posts across our social media platforms about real time events in Australia and across the world. Add to that we give regular campaign updates on our website and look out for our new ‘Warts and All’ Chats as vodcast and podcast, with people like Thérèse Rein and Kevin Rudd, who were our first guests in December, 2020.
Who does all the work?
We have a small team of Administrators who run our social media accounts, make decisions on our operations and branding and run a team of strategy and marketing experts, Coven moderators and campaign workers. The MFW Coven and the work behind the scenes on our campaigns is mostly done by wonderful Witchy Volunteers.
Witches aid our efforts by amplifying our messages and participating in the campaigns by contacting advertisers from News Corp and other shock-jock media outlets, to ask them to stop funding the erosion of our democracy and misinformation sent through these types of media companies.
Witches also encourage their local businesses to become part of the MFW’s #MurdochFreeWorld by taking a pledge not to supply, sell or otherwise make available these media outlet’s in their businesses.
How can I help?
MFW offer several options for supporting our crucial work. You can financially support the MFW by becoming a Coven Member, making a donation or purchasing some of our Witchy merchandise.
We’re also constantly looking for volunteers to join our campaign team, read a newspaper or listen to a TV or radio show for us, to record the advertisers in our database. Sometimes we might be looking for skilled volunteers to assist us with graphic design, marketing, strategy or other varied roles. Nearly all our Administrators and Workers are volunteers, although we do occasionally have paid positions to fill.
Witches are crucial to our campaign successes and we will only achieve a #NewsCorpse if we all work together contacting the advertisers who fund these media companies and people who financially support political parties like the LNP. Check out our Get Involved page for all the information.
Can I join a mailing list?
Enter your email address below to subscribe and be kept informed on all MFW news.
Can I donate?
Yes, all options for donating are found on our Donate page.
What do we do with the money?
The bulk of our donations are spent on paying our Administrative Team and Campaign Workers, where we can. While we do operate using volunteer labour because we must, we’re also working towards paying everyone who works for and with us. Paying women for their work is a feminist act, and we’re committed to doing this as soon as we can.
Other funding goes towards updating and operating our website, and paying people to contribute to our operation by writing or providing other creative material for us.
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