UK journalists union urges Labour to restore Asa Winstanley’s press pass
|Ali Abunimah 3 September 2019|
The UK’s National Union of Journalists has condemned the Labour Party for revoking the press pass of The Electronic Intifada’s Asa Winstanley.
It took the Labour Party nearly two weeks to issue a response to NUJ’s repeated requests for an explanation for the ban, the trade union said on Tuesday.
The NUJ said it was told by party officials that “Asa Winstanley is currently suspended as a member of the Labour Party and the terms of that suspension prevent him from attending Labour Party meetings.”
“It is wholly unacceptable for a journalist to be refused access in this way,” NUJ organizer David Ayrton said.
“An individual journalist’s political affiliation or party membership has no bearing on their work,” Ayrton added, calling the ban “a disturbing breach of press freedom.”
The union is calling on the party “to urgently resolve this matter sensibly and reinstate our member’s access.”
In July, the UK’s main opposition party informed Winstanley in writing that it had approved a press pass for him to cover its annual conference in September.
But just weeks later, party officials abruptly claimed that the approval had never been given.
Facing criticism, party bureaucrats gave the excuse that Winstanley is under a disciplinary investigation.
That investigation, started in March, is part of a witch hunt against members who question the party’s crackdown on Palestinian rights supporters and the left based on bogus accusations of anti-Semitism.
Last week more than two dozen prominent journalists launched a petition calling on Labour to restore Winstanley’s press pass.
To date, more than 2,600 people have signed it.
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