Zach's Law: our award winning campaign
Much to our delight - and surprise - last week saw the Epilepsy Society win two awards in just three days for our #ZachsLaw campaign.
Well, that was quite a week!
After two years of campaigning against online trolling of people with epilepsy, we were thrilled that our #ZachsLaw campaign was shortlisted at the Purpose awards and the CIPR Excellence awards. And we walked away with an award from both.
On Friday, Nicola Swanborough, Head of External Affairs, and Nathan Draper, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, visited BAFTA Piccadilly, where we received the award for Best Advocacy Campaign at the Purpose Awards. These awards, run by leading industry magazine PR Week, were attended by a wide variety of big brands, from YouTube to Ikea, and from ITV to the Samaritans.
To win an award at such a prestigious event, alongside such high profile names, was a real achievement.
Just two days prior to this, Nicola and Nathan were joined by Claire Keer, mum of campaign figurehead Zach, as we attended the CIPR Excellence Awards, the annual award ceremony hosted by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
At this ceremony, we won a Mark of Excellence award for Best Public Affairs Campaign in a highly contested category.
#ZachsLaw is our campaign to criminalise the sending of flashing images to people with epilepsy. This is a vicious and cruel type of internet trolling. The campaign is not over, but we are honoured that our work, and the work of our 10-year-old campaign leader, Zach Eagling, has been recognised.
The next stage in our campaign is to ensure the Online Safety Bill, currently working its way through Parliament, includes a mention of physical harm caused to a person with epilepsy via a digital attack.
While the government have included in the Bill a mention of the psychological harm caused by a trolling attack there is no such mention of physical harm.
Nicola Swanborough, fresh from collecting the awards, said:
"It was an incredible honour to collect these two awards, especially when you consider the competition we faced. However, our campaign is far from over. Since we launched #ZachsLaw in 2020, we have always had one very clear goal: to criminalise the sending of flashing images to people with epilepsy. We are pleased that the government has acknowledged the psychological harm caused by this trolling, but they must also recognise the physical harm."
"We believe epilepsy is the only condition where a person can have a physical response – in this case a seizure – to a digital attack. The campaign, therefore, continues. We owe that to all people with epilepsy."
Thank you to all those who have played a part in our campaign. This is as much your award as it is ours. We continue to lobby government to ensure a safer internet for all. Watch this space...