Major News Outlets Urge U.S. to Drop Its Charges Against Assange/ NY Times
In a joint letter, news organizations warned that the indictment of Julian Assange “sets a dangerous precedent” that could chill reporting about matters of national security.
Wondering: why now? Who is being appeased? If this was about setting a precedent that could harm journalists, it is way overdue. Something is happening behind the scenes that we are missing.
WASHINGTON — The New York Times and four European news organizations called on the United States government on Monday to drop its charges against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, for obtaining and publishing classified diplomatic and military secrets.
In a joint open letter, The Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El País said the prosecution of Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act “sets a dangerous precedent” that threatened to undermine the First Amendment and the freedom of the press.
“Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists,” the letter said. “If that work is criminalized, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.”
Mr. Assange, who has been fighting extradition from Britain since his arrest there in 2019, is also accused of participating in a hacking-related conspiracy. The letter notably did not urge the Justice Department to drop that aspect of the case, though it said that “some of us are concerned” about it, too….