Journalism and Freedom of the Press hangs in limbo
Assange’s persecution and jailing would have global repercussions for journalism and freedom of the press
There are some in the West who are fully convinced Assange deserves to be tried and thrown in jail for “threatening” the national security of the united States and “undermining” its democratic processes.
Some view Assange as a partisan hack who premeditatively desired to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections.
Whatever the Wikileaks founder’s political leanings or views are, the case isn’t about him, it’s about freedom of the press and journalism. Julian Assange is a proxy representing all journalists, independent journalists, whistleblowers, leakers, publishers, and media-types and journalism in general who don’t toe the political narrative of the day.
As Edward Snowden rightly said: “You . . . cannot support the prosecution of a publisher for publishing without narrowing the basic rights every newspaper relies on.”
The moment Assange steps on the plane for his extradition to the US he will be de facto found guilty. He will probably end up in a Guantanamo-like prison rotting away in solitary confinement. His prosecution and jailing would have global repercussions for journalists, independent journalists, whistleblowers, leakers, publishers, and media-types.
According to US lawyer and civil liberties advocate Ben Wizner at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): “Any prosecution of Mr Assange for WikiLeaks’ publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations”.
Any lawsuit that attempts to make it illegal to publish documents would set a…