Sunday, 27 Sep 2020

Boris Johnson blasts Extinction Rebellion for protest against newspapers

Boris Johnson has condemned Extinction Rebellion protesters for trying to silence free speech after they blocked access to three printing presses owned by Rupert Murdoch.

The blockade affected the distribution of several national newspapers – including The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Times and The Telegraph – which arrived late on newsstands on Saturday.

Mr Johnson labelled the protests ‘unacceptable’ and pointed out that a free press was ‘vital’ for holding his Government to account for its actions on climate change.

He tweeted: ‘A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country, including the fight against climate change.

‘It is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way.’

More than 100 protesters – who accused the papers of failing to report on climate change – used vehicles and bamboo structures to block roads outside three press sites in Hertfordshire, Merseyside and North Lanarkshire. Police said 72 people have now been arrested.

Home Secretary Priti Patel accused the protesters of carrying out an ‘attack on democracy’.

She wrote: ‘This morning people across the country will be prevented from reading their newspaper because of the actions of Extinction Rebellion. This attack on our free press, society and democracy is completely unacceptable.’

Shadow International Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry told Times Radio she was concerned for older readers who may have missed out on their daily dose of news.

She said: ‘I don’t really know what it is that is expected to be achieved and I know that for many older listeners it’s very much part of their daily life, getting their paper delivered in the morning and I just think it’s wrong.’

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