Extinction Rebellion activists plan to unleash an unprecedented attack on the British media, sparking accusations that they want to infringe free speech.
The Mail on Sunday has obtained a copy of a document entitled The Great March For Truth & Blockade, which details how six key print and broadcast media sites would be targeted by environmental protesters next spring.
They include a print works in Hertfordshire where millions of national and regional newspapers are produced; Broadcasting House, which is home to the BBC; and the offices of newspaper groups including News UK, which publishes The Times, and DMG Media, publishers of The Mail on Sunday.
If accepted by Action Circle, the planning committee of Extinction Rebellion (XR), the fortnight of direct action in mid-April would focus on forcing the media to ‘tell the truth’ about climate change.
The plans include staging ‘occupations/blockades’ outside media headquarters in London before a ‘Great March for Truth’ on April 16 to the Broxbourne print works.
‘The plant has only one exit road leading to the A10, which makes it very vulnerable to a mass blockade,’ the proposal says. ‘This would block almost all national newspapers for the South of England from being delivered from this plant.
‘The disruptive impact of the capital and entire south of the country waking up to almost empty newspaper stands would send a shock through the system, as a wake-up call to the seriousness with which the media needs to take the crises.’
It says the protest could last for 12 hours or ‘having set up the blockade, XR could consider running it continuously until the Sunday morning, thus blocking the Friday, Saturday and Sunday papers’.
The document concedes it would require ‘high-risk, arrestable, undercover operations’.
It even suggests filling empty newspaper stands with ‘special edition copies of The Hourglass’, XR’s own newspaper. Ironically, Donnachadh McCarthy, co-author of the proposal, writes a weekly column for The Independent, one of the companies his document suggests blockading.