Target: United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron
Goal: Stop repressive investigation into newspaper and repeal press regulation statute
The United Kingdom is a place few from outside the country would associate with lack of freedom for journalism and the press. However, recent official responses to The Guardian’s release of classified documents provided by Edward Snowden are damaging the country’s reputation. A group of prominent members of parliament are investigating “the Guardian’s involvement in, and publication of, the Snowden leaks”. The investigation, combined with recent efforts to regulate the press, suggest that the British Parliament is beginning an assault on freedom of the press.
The documents in question revealed the spying tactics of the United States’ National Security Agency and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters. Serious allegations of unconstitutional violations of privacy rights by the security agencies have emerged from the documents. The initial revelation was the collection of massive amounts of metadata collected from American and British citizens’ cellphones. Subsequent reports described direct data collection of phone calls and text messages, including Angela Merkel’s, the Chancellor of Germany.
Any infringement on freedom of the press is unacceptable in a functioning democracy. The people need to know what the government is doing in order to make an informed response in elections. Moreover, the United Kingdom’s position as a world leader with great cultural influence gives them larger responsibility to protect freedom of the press. Autocrats will point to ‘the British example’ to justify their own limitations on press freedom.
Additionally, the Snowden leaks have prompted public outcry and calls for change in policy. That should be proof enough that the Guardian, and press freedom generally, should not be regulated or limited. Sign this petition and tell Prime Minister David Cameron that he should cease supporting the investigation into the Guardian and begin repealing a recent press regulation statute.
Dear Prime Minister David Cameron,
Freedom of the press is one of the great victories of modern democracy. By enabling the people to be informed, the government becomes more accountable and the people become more concerned about their country. It is this spirit of patriotism that should encourage you to end your support for the parliamentary investigation into the Guardian.
The Guardian’s reports on the Snowden leaks have produced an important public dialogue that will ultimately improve the United Kingdom. It is an example of why free journalism is so necessary in a functioning democracy.
Additionally, I urge you to support repealing the statute that underlies the royal charter on press regulation. These actions taken together have made Britain appear as an attacker of freedom of the press and that example will be pointed to by autocrats around the world to justify their actions. Keep Britain a bastion of freedom and democracy; stop supporting press regulation and investigation
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Nilfanion via Wikimedia Commons