The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has pledged to back its British affiliate the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in defending the right to report, after it was revealed that legal action had been initiated against the BBC and The Guardian in respect of the ‘Paradise Papers’.
In response to news that the offshore company Appleby had initiated breach of confidentiality proceedings against just two of the 96 news organisations across the globe who have covered the story, NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “This is an outrageous and cynical manoeuvre that should be condemned internationally. Wealthy corporate interests attacking the right to report is not new. It is also typical of corporations to use their financial muscle to try and bully individual media outlets in the hope that they will frighten all who seek the truth. The response of all journalists should be that we will not allow this to succeed.
“Journalists have a duty to represent the powerless when their interests are at odds with the powerful. The international response to the Paradise Papers, not to mention the inquires launched by the Australian Tax authorities and HMRC in response to these revelations, are evidence enough of their significance.”
“The actions initiated by the offshore tax advisors Appleby, comes against a backdrop of challenges to the right to report, from the Investigatory Powers Act and the General Data Protections Regulations – not to mention the financial challenge of social media that undermines the business model for much of the media.
“It has always been the case that the most robust defenders of press freedom have been journalists ourselves – which is why the NUJ over a century after our inception remains at the forefront of that campaign”.