I was born in Nicaragua, where the regime of Daniel Ortega, the murderous dictator, is carrying out brutal attacks on press freedom. Ortega's regime has occupied journalists' premises and confiscated their equipment; reporters have been murdered, imprisoned or have had to flee the country for daring to cover the repression. Their horrific treatment is why freedom of the press is sacrosanct to me.
My philosophy has always been to reach out and try to persuade those who disagree with my arguments. I don't like to only speak to the converted; if we don't engage with people, we will never change their hearts and minds. Restricting freedom of speech is certainly never the way to go about convincing or persuading other people of ones' arguments.
Climate change is the most pressing problem confronting mankind today: an existential threat that requires radical action. And I am the first to admit that we don't have a perfect media in the UK, with regards to climate change and the environment. I am also the first to take the press on and challenge it on social media.
But at the same time I will always be happy to do an interview or write an article for newspapers, whether that's The Financial Times, the Daily Mail or indeed, the Telegraph.
People often ask me why I'm happy to publish articles in these newspapers. My reply is always the same: because their readership is an audience that I want to reach and persuade of the threat of climate change. I will always engage in debates with people who may have different opinions to mine.
That is why I was very surprised by the decision of Extinction Rebellion to blockade the printing sites for The Sun, The Times, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and The Evening Standard. Such an irony that The Sun had an amazing article being published in the next day's paper written by the great environmental hero, Sir David Attenborough – the very issue that Extinction Rebellion prevented from being printed.
I think Extinction Rebellion's actions were a mistake . I hope they will realise that it was the wrong move, and not the most productive action that they could have taken.
We need to protect freedom of speech. Yes, we can and should challenge the media when they are not being fair and not reporting accurately but we cannot shut them down. That is not how you gain respect and popularity.
I've done many things in my life that were not popular, but based on principle. The positions I've taken in my life have not always been fashionable. But over time, I have witnessed both the media and the public move closer to my views on climate change, the importance of restoration of deforested and degraded lands; on moving investments from fossil fuels to renewable energy and on the critical importance of the survival of indigenous people.
We need to find common ground for democracies to work, and we must respect the difference between an enemy and an adversary. As Schopenhauer's strategy put it, "Persuade The Audience, Not The Opponent" – and we should never forget, as the author Lailah Gifty Akita said, "A man can be converted when convinced."
Bianca Jagger is founder and president of The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
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