As part of the celebrations for its 200th anniversary in 2003, the Parliamentary Press Gallery inaugurated an annual writing competition for students, designed to complement citizenship lessons in schools. The competition is organised in conjunction with Parliament’s Education Service, and enjoys cross party support from Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband.
Since 2003, hundreds of students and schools throughout the country have taken part in the competition, with some of the winners going on to become political journalists working for national titles.
Each year a specific theme is chosen for the two age categories to write about. Submissions are sought from schools around the country, and a shortlist is drawn up. Winners are then selected by members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
Past competition winners have spent the day at Westminster with members of the press to learn more about their work and have been given the opportunity to meet and question senior politicians. In 2013, a winners’ reception was hosted in the Speaker’s Apartment in the Palace of Westminster by Speaker John Bercow, offering winners the opportunity to meet politicians and senior journalists.
The theme for the 2012/13 Write Here, Write Now competition was:
The Internet and Privacy
Is it right for the government to have access to details of people's mobile phone calls, emails and internet history?
In May 2012 the government announced plans to make it easier for the phone and intelligence agencies such as MI5 and MI6 to monitor e-mails, phone calls and intenet use.
This includes phone numbers and e-mail addresses but not the content of messages.
The government says that with the rise of social media, Skype and other ways of communication online, the law needs to keep pace with technological changes to enable the security services to confront changing threats to the UK.
But civil liberties groups argued that the plans would threaten privacy and become a "snooper's charter".
Another aspect is the right of governments to keep secrets. For several years groups like Wikileaks have been releasing secret government documents online. They claim that the people have a right to know everything that their country is doing. Politicians say that some things must be kept a secret and that posting these documents online risks lives.
The winner will spend the day at Westminster with members of the press to learn more about their work and will get the opportunity to meet and question senior politicians. Hotel and travel expenses will be provided.
What do you think?
Click here to enter the Write Here, Right Now Competition.
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