The following is an LBC radio interview with E3G’s Chair Tom Burke discussing whether the actions of Extinction Rebellion represent an attack on the free press.
I think that there has been an enormous over-reaction on the part of the press, who hate anyone trying to hold them to account. What we have is a classic example, in British politics, of a group exercising their right to protest. In this case, they are protesting against the actions of the Murdoch media, and I think that they are perfectly entitled to do that.
What the protestors think is that we are not doing enough as a society, and our politicians are not doing enough, to deal with a problem that is a very, very serious problem. I think they are reflecting exactly what the public feel.
The media are getting upset that somebody is holding them to account. Extinction Rebellion is making a point that the press is unaccountable for the role it is playing in climate denial. They are not attacking the free press they are making a point.
Accusing Extinction Rebellion of being an organised crime organisation is just a counter-attack by a government that doesn’t like being challenged. The idea that this is an organised crime activity is exactly what you would expect from authoritarian governments who don’t want to be challenged by anybody.
I think that there is an awful lot of hype and over-reaction to what is simply a classic example of British civil rights being exercised. Protests annoy some people, but I don’t think that it helps anyone to exaggerate the significance of it.