Labour: reinstate Asa Winstanley's press pass for Labour Party conference now

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We the undersigned object to the Labour Party’s decision to revoke its approval of Asa Winstanley’s press pass to cover Labour conference 2019.

As former NUJ deputy general secretary Jacob Ecclestone has said, "The excuse offered by the party for withdrawing Mr Winstanley’s press accreditation – that his membership of the Labour Party has been suspended and therefore he cannot attend any Labour Party meetings – would be laughable were it not such a serious matter. Does the Labour Party now require all accredited journalists to be members of the Party in good standing? That seems rather improbable.”

Asa Winstanley’s reporting for The Electronic Intifada, an influential Palestine news site, doubtless has many critics, as well as supporters. But robust, independent, investigative reporting is the litmus test of a free press. The fact that such reporting may arouse vehement opposition cannot excuse suppressing press freedom.

The Labour Party has often opposed restrictions on a free press here and abroad. It should certainly do so at its own conference.

We call for Asa Winstanley's press pass to be reinstated immediately.

INITIAL SIGNATORIES

John Pilger

Abdel Bari Atwan

Noam Chomsky

Tim Llewellyn, former BBC Middle East Correspondent, life NUJ member and member of the Labour Party

Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor-in-chief, The Canary

Hala Jaber, six-time award winning former Sunday Times journalist

Maha Rezeq

Abby Martin

Phil Rees

Marc Wadsworth

Jacob Ecclestone

Bernie Corbett

Phil Miller, deputy news editor, Morning Star

Steve Sweeney, Morning Star international editor

Ben Cowles, Morning Star

James Wright, staff writer, The Canary

Guy Smallman, photojournalist and NUJ activist

Pennie Quinton, chair, London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists

Tim Lezard

Matt Kennard, journalist and author

Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam

Jonathan Cook

Hicham Yezza, editor-in-chief, Ceasefire Magazine

David Edwards

Roshan Salih

Max Blumenthal, editor, TheGrayzone.com

Ben Norton, journalist, The Grayzone

Aaron Maté, The Grayzone, The Nation

Nabila Ramdani, Freelance journalist

Steve Walker