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We, the undersigned, condemn Jeremy Corbyn's irresponsible undermining of the free press.

This petition had 25 supporters


Since your election as leader last year, Labour leader you and your campaign team have stoked mistrust in the free press of this country.

This is a dangerous thing to do as it undermines the proper workings of liberal democracy.

Most recently, you have refused to appear in leadership debates hosted by Channel 4, the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Mirror (tellingly, all liberal-left leaning media organisations) because your team alleges they are "biased against" you. 

Your campaign director (and co-founder of Momentum) Jon Lansman said in an email: “We are deeply concerned that some of those media organisations or their leading presenters have taken partisan positions against Jeremy’s leadership or campaign, and therefore can’t be regarded as impartial hosts or moderators."

For you, H.M. Leader of the Opposition - a paid Government official, no less - to support attacks on the free press just because they are critical of your leadership style is incredibly irresponsible.

It is also the oldest trick in the book of autocratic politicians: instead of adapting their style or their message so it is better received, they attack the press as being “partisan,” or “politically-motivated.”

Your narrative is this: the media is owned by “neo-con oligarchs who are scared of your radical left policy because they have so much money to lose.”

The truth is that, like many of us, they allege what scores of observers have said: you are incompetent and uncommunicative. That is the truth you are trying to deny.

Yet those of us who do not rate you are frequently told that we have been "brainwashed." 

Your supporters should (in theory) be given pause by the fact that, over the water, Donald Trump is engaging in exactly the same tactics to discredit the free press - including the New York Times, almost unarguably the world’s best non-business newspaper in English. 

They might be shocked that he has managed to convince the largest share of the public (38%) that that the media is “disgusting and corrupt,” because it favours Hilary Clinton over him.

An undercover reporter just tweeted some of the insults and death threats and threats to dismantle the liberal media heard a Trump rally. For his pains, a Trump supporter replied that he would be the "first to be gassed."

Is that what we want here? It's not so far off.

Hitler, Stalin, Erdogan, Putin all hated and hate the free press and lock up or kill their reporters (see below).

The press is, of course, free to decide that Clinton would make a better president than Trump and that Theresa May (or another Labour leader) might be better placed to cope with the Brexit negotiations you are. And a vast majority of voters agree. That is your problem, not ours. 

But you are playing with fire, because long after the leader, honourable or otherwise, has gone, what remains is a pervasive mistrust. Once that faith in the general integrity of the journalistic profession is broken there remains a gaping wound in society.

 Once people can be encouraged to distrust the media they stop reading it and, instead, believe only what they are told by the person who created the mistrust. In short, anything is possible for devious politicians. I would like to believe that you are not in that mold, and you are honourable.

 A note on other haters of the free press.

Hitler attacked the “Jewish-owned media” and the conspiracy that the “Jewish-owned media” continues to lie about the holocaust is still easy to find.

Stalin totally controlled the media. Those who tried to listen or read anything else was sent to the gulag.

As of 2015, 199 journalists were in prison around the world as a result of being "partisan" against their autocratic leaders. 

Turkey's increasingly dictatorial Erdogan has shut down more than 100 news outlets suspected of holding links to exiled foe, Mr. Gulen whom he accuses, without much evidence, of organising a coup against him. He has ordered the more than 100 journalists.

Let us not forget that the contemporary push for discrediting of the "lamestream media" was begun by Sarah Palin - who could not even name what papers she read on a regular basis. 

Now, just three letters - MSM - are enough to shake trust in what is written by thousands of journalists around the Western world. 

Comment is currently free in this country and a robust and outspoken press and voices from across the political spectrum are an integral part of our democracy.

 

Faith in the free press - a bunch of, yes, gossips and muckrakers who nonetheless are obsessed with getting the facts, trivial and important - is fragile. 

For this reason, we are petitioning you and your campaign team to retract their dangerous slurs on the free press and journalists of the United Kingdom.

 

 



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