DM2014: Orwell’s worst dream
Guardian FoC Brian Williams thanks NUJ for its support - © mark dimmock
12 April 2014
Conference passed a motion calling for a commission to be set up to look at new legislation to protect individuals and organisations against unnecessary state surveillance.
Speakers said they gave the full backing to the Guardian and its journalists for the publication of leaks from Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who revealed the mass surveillance carried out by the American security service in collusion with our own.
Brian Williams, FoC of the Guardian chapel, thanked all those who had supported the paper. He said:
“The support we have had from NUJ members has been essential in helping us to follow up the story.”
Philip Hunt, Brussels branch, said what was happening was Orwell’s worst nightmare – a direct attack on all our civil liberties. He said:
"I never thought that I'd grow up into a society where Orwell's worst nightmares came true. I never thought that I'd see a society where spying, surveillance and monitoring of law-abiding citizens going about their everyday lives would become a reality. But that's where we are today.
"I think that Edward Snowden is the most important whistleblower of our time. Because of his courage, we know the full challenge we face in reporting injustice, in protecting sources."
The motion also noted the campaign by the Brussels branch directed at the European Parliament to obtain asylum seeker status for Edward Snowden across the European Union.
The Brussels branch has suggested eight questions you can ask your prospective MEP in the run up to the European elections in May on the subject of surveillance and data protection.
Conference also heard that, despite the union having lobbied for some changes to the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act in Ireland, the government still intends to introduce a €15 upfront fee for FOI requests. NEC was instructed to mount a campaign to have the fee repealed.