Appeals for Assange's launch: It's about freedom of the press | EUROtoday

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As of: February 20, 2024 5:24 a.m

In London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is making an attempt to defend himself towards being extradited to the USA. His supporters are additionally protesting loudly – and have allies in politics.

Katrin Brand

On Press Freedom Day, the Washington Post podium all of the sudden turned uncomfortable. Star journalist David Ignatius and Secretary of State Antony Blinken had been speaking about journalists in Russian custody when a protester got here onto the stage: “Sorry, we had to use this day to demand freedom for Julian Assange.” She was escorted out after which issues continued.

That was final May and since then the protests within the USA have grow to be louder and extra seen. More and extra voices are calling on the US authorities to not prosecute Assange – together with politicians from his house nation of Australia. Barnaby Joyce, a former deputy prime minister, traveled to Washington. Not “to argue, but to present a case and advocate for an outcome,” he informed Australian tv.

A hazard to journalism

In November, the Assange case introduced collectively very totally different US politicians. Marjorie Taylor Greene from the Trump camp and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from the left wing of the Democrats wrote to President Biden along with different MPs. And just some days in the past, nearly 40 legislation professors signed a letter to the Justice Department.

Because it's not nearly Assange, says co-signatory Gregg Leslie, a professor at Arizona State University: “You might think it's just about stopping one person. But it would affect a lot of legitimate reporting.”

Julian Assange, the founding father of WikiLeaks, revealed secret paperwork on navy operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010. Therefore, after his extradition, he will probably be charged within the USA underneath the Espionage Act of 1917. The legislation is ridiculously broad, says Gregg Leslie, and applies to individuals who publish info however don’t have any intention of espionage.

If you assume it’s important to prosecute him as a result of he took delicate info and revealed it, then “you endanger investigative journalism if it's somehow about national security,” says Leslie.

“Enemy of the people” Assange

What Assange does – chatting with sources, uncovering and publishing secret authorities info – is the core enterprise of investigative journalism, says Seth Stern from the Freedom of the Press Foundation. And if Assange is convicted due to this, each different journalist is also convicted due to this.

President Obama noticed it equally and avoided indicting Assange. President Trump, however, has repeatedly described journalists as enemies of the folks and initiated the method. But why doesn't President Biden cease it? Possibly as a result of WikiLeaks revealed Hillary Clinton's emails in the course of the 2016 election marketing campaign they usually broken the candidate.

There are many individuals within the Democrats who nonetheless resent Assange and subsequently don’t have any pity, says Seth Stern. But it’s important to perceive that this isn’t about Assange personally, however about freedom of the press within the USA.

Because the following president might be referred to as Trump once more. And he has already introduced that he desires to lock up disagreeable journalists – particularly those that publish leaked info.