Above Photo: Thierry ehrmann/Flickr
Dear friends and colleagues,
Julian Assange, publisher of Wikileaks, has been charged under the US espionage act for publishing the Afghanistan and Iraq war diaries and US embassy cables, important documents that many of us around the world used and helped to publicise.
This sets an extremely dangerous precedent for journalists, media organizations and freedom of the press. We do not want to be silent at this time.
We invite all journalists and people in journalism-related roles to be part of this global statement in defence of Julian Assange. Please read the statement, which explains why we need to speak up. You can read it and sign here.
The statement includes a quote from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer who investigated the case: “it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.”