On December 10, Human Rights Day, a British court delivered a verdict that clears the way for the extradition of journalist and publisher Julian Assange to the United States. If the extradition goes through, Assange will face criminal prosecution in the US, including under the infamous Espionage Act, and if convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in jail.
Julian Assange and his organization WikiLeaks published vital information received from whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning that chronicled US war crimes and atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. These include ‘Collateral Murder,’ the horrifying video that showed US military personnel killing Iraqi civilians, including two journalists. WikiLeaks revelations also exposed corruption and human rights violations by governments across the world, and these reports have been carried and cited by media organizations globally.
It is for this crime of journalism that Julian Assange has been persecuted for over a decade. He is the first publisher to be charged under the Espionage Act. The US government and its allies across the world have refused to accept the fact that Assange is a journalist. The persecution of Julian Assange is thus a fundamental assault on journalism, press freedom, and freedom of expression.
We, the undersigned media organizations, reject and denounce this attack on Julian Assange and journalism. Freedom of the press will remain a hollow phrase as long as Julian Assange and WikiLeaks continue to be hounded.
Brasil de Fato
Pan African TV