Open Letter in Defence of WikiLeaks’ Right to Publish

We believe that free societies everywhere are best served by journalism that holds governments and corporations to account. We assert that the right to publish is equal to, and the consequence of, the citizen’s right to know. While we believe in personal privacy and accept a need for confidentiality, we hold that disclosure in the public interest is paramount. Liberty, accountability and true democratic choice can only be guaranteed by rigorous scrutiny. We defend the right to publish the truth responsibly without obstruction and persecution by the state. The primary duty of journalists everywhere is to advance the cause of understanding, not to assist governments and powerful interests in suppressing information, and never to defer to ingrained habits of secrecy.

With these principles in mind, we declare our support for the publication of documents released through leaks. They have cast significant light on the behaviour of governments and corporations in the modern world. WikiLeaks has done the world great service. We strenuously denounce the threats of death and criminal prosecution of its director for publishing, together with many organisations throughout the world, information that is clearly in the public interest.

Those in authority routinely oppose such disclosure, as they have done since the struggle to publish the proceedings of the British Parliament over two hundred years ago right through to the release of the Pentagon Papers. We believe no democracy has ever been harmed by an increase in the public’s knowledge and understanding.Therefore, we, the undersigned, declare our unyielding support for the principles of journalistic inquiry and openness, and condemn the forces that threaten both.

Please select your language


Lisa Appignanesi
John Berger
Fatima Bhutto
Rachel Billington
Sue Birtwistle
Rosie Boycott
Heather Brooke
Mike Burns
Noam Chomsky
Patrick Cockburn
Steve Coogan
Jeremy Dear
Molly Dineen
Ariel Dorfman
David Edgar
Daniel Ellsberg
David Elstein
Bill Emmott
Richard Eyre
Richard Gizbert
Woody Harrelson
Tom Hayden
Sue Hollick
Hugh Hudson
Will Hutton
Philip Jacobson
Terry Jones
John Kampfner
Michael Kennedy
Helena Kennedy
Imran Khan
Philip Knightley
Hanif Kureishi
Jeremy Leggett
Mike Leigh
Kim Longinotto
Edward MacMillan Scott
Terry McDonell
Michael Moore
Philip Pullman
David Puttnam
Salman Rushdie
John Ryle
Richard Sambrook
Susan Sarandon
Alexandra Shulman
Oliver Stone
Tom Stoppard
Bill Thompson
Laura Wade
Marina Warner
AN Wilson
View Complete List »


* indicates required

Open Letter Committee:
Anthony Barnett, Charles Glass, Tony Curzon Price, Roger Graef, Jemima Khan, Henry Porter, Pranvera Smith, Rachel Johnson, Elaine Potter, Vaughan Smith (chair).


The Frontline Club


Open Democracy

Reporters Without Borders

The Newspaper Guild

The International Federation of Journalists

English PEN

Article 19