NCIA has urged charities and other voluntary groups to consider breaking the law by defying the requirements of the Lobbying Act. The new legislation, nicknamed the Gagging Act, will restrict charities’ expenditure on campaigning and limit their ability to speak up for the people they exist to serve. The new law is framed in such a complex way that many charities will censor themselves for fear of falling foul of the restrictions.
Now that the campaign inside Parliament has been lost, NCIA has today circulated a press release asking charities and NGOs to commit to civil disobedience when the new law begins to have an impact.
Over 130 voluntary groups, including large mainstream charities such as Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation, campaigned against the bill. NCIA is asking them to follow through on their opposition and defy these unjust limits on free expression.
Andy Benson, co-director of NCIA, said:
“Charities and other voluntary groups serve the needs of their members, supporters and service users. Millions of people will lose out if voluntary groups are prevented from speaking about people’s needs.
“Civil disobedience should not be done lightly but it is sometimes a fair response to an unfair law. We are asking charities and other groups to say they will be willing to break the Gagging Act if this is needed to serve the people for whom their organisations exist.”