The advertising boycott of GB News shows Britain can no longer take basic democratic values for granted, the Culture Secretary has warned.

Writing for The Telegraph, Oliver Dowden said a "vocal Twitter minority" was targeting the "free and diverse media" and the "right to dissent". 

The Cabinet minister pledged: "We will not stand by and allow that to happen."

In an escalation of the Government’s so-called "war on woke", Mr Dowden insisted the fledgling centre-Right broadcaster is right to seek to "empower" viewers who feel that their "concerns have been unheard".

His intervention came after several companies withdrew advertising from GB News in its first week on air in the face of a "stop funding hate" campaign.  

Mr Dowden said: "When he launched the channel, veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil vowed that GB News would not be ‘an echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset’, and that it would ’empower those who feel their concerns have been unheard’.

"Rightly so. A free media is one that has a diverse range of opinions and voices."

Mr Dowden identified the protection of journalism and political opinions as "the grounds of a functioning democracy", adding: "Sadly, we can no longer take them for granted. 

"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."

In an interview with The Telegraph, Frank Luntz, the veteran US pollster behind use of "climate change" instead of "global warming" said he fears "capitalism" is becoming a "bad word" in Britain, and said he is seeking an alternative to the word.