Whatever happened to freedom of the press?

What with everything that’s been going on in the last few days, I feel I must show some solidarity with my fellow writers and stand up for what I believe in. So, what do I believe in?

I believe in the right of every journalist, blogger and writer to tell the truth as we see it. In fact, it is not simply a right – we are duty bound to do exactly that. This is the path we have chosen. It’s not always a straight path, but it’s a clear one.

I believe in the right of everyone to be able to pass through an airport safe in the knowledge that they will not be pulled aside by the police when they have clearly done nothing wrong. This shame escalates when they do know who someone is and take them for questioning under the pretext of calling it “anti-terrorism measures”.

I believe in the right of everyone, wherever they may be from, to have a private life. Too many people nowadays seem to be conveniently forgetting what the word “private” actually means.

I believe in the right of everyone in the world to have access to information that affects us personally. So – governments are watching us. What I research on the internet is MY BUSINESS, no one else’s. I will share what I want to share with people I know. The government can fuck off. I’m a writer and I may look up some weird things, which my search history will store. That’s fine. What’s definitely NOT fine is the ability, even the likelihood, of faceless nobodies snooping, stalking, watching my every digital move and building up files about me. (Have they already built up a file with my name on it? How am I to know? Do I have a right to know? Yes, I do.)

I believe in the right of journalists to protect their sources. If they don’t, people won’t talk.

I believe in the right of newspaper editors to publish information about the people who are running the country, with no intervention from those people.

In short, I believe that we all have the right to live in a place where there is a free press. Supposedly we have one. This has now become a huge joke, and the joke, such as it is, is on us, the public, for not spotting the lie sooner.

We as writers must continue the fight in any way we can. I write fiction, so I use that to get my messages across. It may piss a few people off. If it does, I will have done what I set out to do. I don’t write solely for that purpose, of course. I write to tell stories. But in my stories, I hope there is some truth, and that readers may recognise that truth for what it is.

Glenn Greenwald was right to say he would write more aggressively than ever. That he will not give in to pressure. That he will not be intimidated into censoring himself. Every writer, every blogger, every journalist, should be standing with him.

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