Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Supporting Freedom of Speech and Wikileaks‏

Supporting Freedom of Speech and Wikileaks‏


ARTICLE 19

STATEMENT

11 April 2011

Supporting Freedom of Speech and Wikileaks

ARTICLE 19 joins free speech activists in a letter supporting Wikileaks and defending the right to publish leaked information in the public interest.

We believe that free societies everywhere are best served by journalism that holds governments and corporations to account. We assert that the right to publish is equal to, and the consequence of, the citizen’s right to know. While we believe in personal privacy and accept a need for confidentiality, we hold that disclosure in the public interest is paramount. Liberty, accountability and true democratic choice can only be guaranteed by rigorous scrutiny.

We defend the right to publish the truth responsibly without obstruction and persecution by the state. The primary duty of journalists everywhere is to advance the cause of understanding, not to assist governments and powerful interests in suppressing information, and never to defer to ingrained habits of secrecy.

With these principles in mind, we declare our support for the publication of documents released through leaks. They have cast significant light on the behaviour of governments and corporations in the modern world. Wikileaks has done the world great service. We strenuously denounce the threats of death and criminal prosecution of its director for publishing, together with many organisations throughout the world, information that is clearly in the public interest.

Those in authority routinely oppose such disclosure, as they have done since the struggle to publish the proceedings of the British parliament over 200 years ago right through to the release of the Pentagon Papers. We believe no democracy has ever been harmed by an increase in the public’s knowledge and understanding. Therefore, we, the undersigned, declare our unyielding support for the principles of journalistic inquiry and openness, and condemn the forces that threaten both.

Supported by: ARTICLE 19, English Pen, International Federation of Journalists, The Newspaper Guild, OpenDemocracy, Reporters Without Borders,


FURTHER INFORMATION:

• Signed along with many others: Lisa Appignanesi, John Berger, Fatima Bhutto, Rachel Billington, Rosie Boycott, Heather Brooke, Noam Chomsky, Patrick Cockburn, Steve Coogan, Jeremy Dear, Molly Dineen, Ariel Dorfman, David Edgar, Daniel Ellsberg, Bill Emmott, Richard Eyre, Woody Harrelson, Sue Hollick, Hugh Hudson, Will Hutton, Helena Kennedy, Imran Khan, Phillip Knightley, Hanif Kureishi, Mike Leigh, Kim Longinotto, Edward McMillan-Scott, Terry McDonell, Michael Moore, Philip Pullman, David Puttnam, Salman Rushdie, Richard Sambrook, Susan Sarandon, Alexandra Shulman, Tom Stoppard, Oliver Stone, Laura Wade, Marina Warner, AN Wilson.
• For more information please contact: Oliver Spencer, oliver@article19.org +44 20 7324 2500

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