2014-03-04 In Support of Sarah Harrison, David Miranda, Moazzam Begg

Please send the following to your MP.

Dear [your MP's name],

I am writing to urge you to support Caroline Lucas's Early Day Motion about the recent misuse of the UK Terrorism Act against journalists.

I am extremely concerned about the abuse of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in recent cases - including that of David Miranda, detained and questioned for collaborating with Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald to bring the information leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to public attention - and the implications that misuse of this legislation, which was drafted by Parliament to be narrowly and specifically used for terrorists, has for UK citizens continuing to enjoy a free press.

There is a second recent case where this issue is having a chilling effect on the work of UK journalists - that of Sarah Harrison, a UK journalist working with WikiLeaks, who has been advised by her lawyers that it is not safe for her to return home because of her journalistic work and her role in assisting Edward Snowden to obtain political asylum. This legal advice was given to her on the grounds that almost every story published on the GCHQ and NSA bulk spying programs falls under the UK Government's interpretation of the word terrorism. This has effectively forced her into exile, away from friends and family, purely for doing her job.

As you may be aware, Frank La Rue, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression, recently said that the UK's Terrorism Act and defence of national security must not be used as grounds for harassing journalists who investigate sensitive subjects such as human rights abuses. Please also note the comments of the former Lord Chancellor, who was among those who brought in the Act, that the powers were intended to be used only against people who are, or who might be, terrorists.

I believe that Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is being illegitimately used to undermine freedom of the press. Caroline Lucas's Early Day Motion 1021 calls on the Government urgently to review the application of the Terrorism Act 2000 and guarantee that it is not used to intimidate or persecute national security journalists.

As my representative in Parliament I would very much like you to sign on to this Early Day Motion and to take whatever other actions you can to further debate on the issues it raises and, hopefully, to bring about rapid reform that prevents our laws being used in a way that threatens our democracy in this country. The matter is serious and urgent. As citizens, we rely on a free and open press to report on where our Government may be going wrong and to uphold our democracy.

You will find EDM 1021 here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/1021

Yours sincerely,


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