(MENAFN) Five main news agencies, including the New York Times, have urged the Biden government to drop charges targeted at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Getting and sharing “sensitive information,” they said, “is a core part of the daily work of journalists.”
The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El Pais all shared info from diplomatic cables received by WikiLeaks in 2010. These reports read that the US spied on its partners, undercounted civilian fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and waged a secret conflict in Yemen.
Assange has been arrested in the UK since 2019, and is now detained in a maximum-security jail awaiting repatriation to the US, where he is facing charges of spying connected to the publication of these cables, in addition to a trove of documents claiming US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s first amendment and the freedom of the press,” the outlets also made an announcement on Monday. “Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists. If that work is criminalized, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.”
“Twelve years after the publication of ‘Cablegate’, it is time for the US government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets,” as written in the letter.
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