Mediapart has joined with more than 40 media organisations, civil rights groups and unions to launch an appeal against a French judicial ruling ordering this news site to remove all extracts from the so-called 'butler tapes' that launched the Bettencourt affair, a far-reaching scandal that continues to shake the country's political and business establishment. The campaign has already attracted more than 55,000 signatures.The text of the appeal is below. Read more about the judgement here and see below for how to sign the appeal yourself.
"We have the right to know!
Freedom of information is not a privilege for journalists but a right for all citizens. In a healthy democracy the sovereign power of the people is based on the assumption that an informed public knows what is going on. To be free in one's choices and independent in one's decisions requires knowing what is in the public interest, in other words all that which determines and influences our lives in society.
When it comes to public affairs, openness should be the rule and secrecy the exception. Making public that which is in the public interest is always legitimate, particularly when a secret is unjustifiably protecting injustices and crimes, attacks on the common good or abuses of human rights. In this way state security cannot be used as an excuse to stop revelations about breaches of individual freedoms, any more than protecting a person's privacy - a quite legitimate demand – can be used as an alibi for breaking the law.
That is why it is important to support the right of professional journalists, sources of information and whistleblowers to reveal facts in the general interest that, without their work and courage, would remain unknown to the public. By supporting them we protect and extend a universal right to know, a sure way of strengthening world democracy during the digital revolution.
For all these reasons, we declare our solidarity with Mediapart after the recent judgement ordering it to censor its stories on the Bettencourt affair three years after their publication. As a sign of protest, we now make those stories our stories. And we encourage the media, associations, elected representatives and citizens to get hold of them immediately and to spread them by all the democratic means in their possession."
To sign the appeal go to this page (in French) and fill in your surname, first name, profession (optional), town or country and email address (it will not be displayed), tick the box if you are happy for Mediapart to contact you and then press 'ok'.
Pleased send this link on to people you know - everyone has free access to these pages.
To consult the full list of signatories, click here.