Marking the 12th anniversary since the publication of Cablegate, first outlets to publish WikiLeaks material, including the Guardian, El Pais, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and The New York Times, come together to oppose the US prosecution of Julian Assange.
Media organizations that first helped Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange publish leaked diplomatic cables, pen an open letter telling the US government it must drop his prosecution because it is undermining press freedom.
The letter reads:
“Cablegate”, a set of 251,000 confidential cables from the US state department, disclosed corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale.
For Julian Assange, publisher of WikLeaks, the publication of “Cablegate” and several other related leaks had the most severe consequences. On April 12th 2019, Assange was arrested in London on a US arrest warrant, and has now been held for three and a half years in a high-security British prison usually used for terrorists and members of organised crime groups. He faces extradition to the US and a sentence of up to 175 years in an American maximum-security prison.
This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s 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. If that work is criminalised, 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.
Publishing is not a crime.