Noam Chomsky and John Pilger offer support for a British pro-Palestinian journalist facing censorship

Journalist Asa Winstanley
Support us and go ad-free

This article was updated on 30 August at 6pm to include a quote from John Pilger.

A petition to reinstate pro-Palestine journalist Asa Winstanley’s press pass for the Labour Party conference has gained considerable support. Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, and Abdel Bari Atwan are among the prominent signatories who’ve added their names to the petition.

The Labour Party has barred Winstanley from attending the party conference in September. The Canary recently reported that this amounts to censorship and an attack on free speech.

John Pilger told The Canary that:

The Labour leadership needs to make up its mind which side it’s on. Banning an accredited journalist, Asa Winstanley of Electronic Intifada, from reporting its conference — while welcoming reporters from the Murdoch press – is not what so many people voted to change in 2017. Electronic Intifada has published vital news of the struggle of Palestinians, and much else, which the ‘mainstream’ ignores or censors. Is Labour now one of those censors?’

An attack on press freedom

Speaking to The Canary about the significance of the support he has received, Winstanley said:

The fact that so many prominent journalists have signed this petition shows that Labour’s failure to fight back against this smear campaign, and willingness to capitulate to it are now a major danger to freedom of the press in this country. Labour will now be allowing anti-Labour journalists into conference, but banning me due to my criticism of the party’s failed approach to this confected ‘crisis’.

Read on...

In a statement to The Canary, veteran journalist and commentator Tim Llewellyn described the move as an “attack on press freedom”. He went on to say:

Winstanley supports and writes forcefully about equal rights for the Palestinians across Israel and Palestine.This is anathema to Israel and its friends and supporters across British politics. Labour’s apparatchiks are doing Israel’s bidding.

Response from Labour

A Labour Party press spokesperson previously told The Canary it is understood that:

Asa Winstanley is currently suspended from the Labour Party. Like any member who is suspended, when he was suspended he was informed that suspension means that he cannot attend any Party meetings including Annual Conference. Another Electronic Intifada journalist has been accredited.

Jacob Ecclestone, former deputy general secretary for the NUJ, has expressed concern over Labour’s reasoning:

The excuse offered by the party for withdrawing Mr Winstanley’s press accreditation… 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.

At the time of writing, the petition has gathered over 500 signatures many of these are from prominent journalists and media commentators in the UK and beyond.

Featured image via YouTube – TRT World

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us