Past Events

Geneva Press Club: In the name of press freedom, media and journalists call for the release of Assange

For all citizens:

For journalists only:

At the invitation of the Swiss Press Club in Geneva, Swiss and international organizations of journalists and publishers as well as editors call with one voice for the release of Julian Assange in the name of freedom of the press, the June 22 at the Swiss Press Club in Geneva at 11 a.m. CEST. A very large mobilization of journalists and media was formed when the British government authorized this June 17 the extradition of the founder of WikiLeaks to the United States where he faces 175 years in prison. This Geneva coalition, which is joined by journalistic organizations from many other countries, is directly challenging the British and American authorities. It also asks the Swiss authorities, in the name of freedom of the press and human rights,

The coalition supports Julian Assange who will use all possible remedies to oppose his extradition and regain his freedom. His only crime is to have published classified documents revealing in particular war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The bearers of the Appeal will recall in particular on this occasion that an extradition of Julian Assange would have serious repercussions for investigative journalism since any use of so-called “classified” or secret documents could be prosecuted and result in a prison sentence for the investigators. . This threat will reinforce the pressure for self-censorship and encourage the renunciation of disclosing information of public interest coming from “protected” official sources.

Since May 18, the decision to extradite Julian Assange at the request of the United States has been in the sole hands of the British Minister of Justice, Priti Patel. She decided this Friday, June 17 to sign the extradition order considering that there was no reason to prohibit this order. This in flagrant violation of human rights and total disregard for press freedom.

As a reminder, Julian Assange, after having lived as a recluse at the Ecuadorian Embassy for seven years, has now been locked up for more than three years in Belmarsh Penitentiary, the high security prison in London, where he suffers, according to Nils Melzer , UN special rapporteur on torture, a treatment that amounts to torture. His health has seriously deteriorated and if extradited, he faces a 175-year prison sentence.

Beyond the human aspects and the violation of human rights dear to Geneva, the case of Julian Assange constitutes a major challenge for the future of press freedom as it is increasingly attacked in all latitudes. , including in Switzerland. It should be noted that the latter country, even if the situation there is described as “rather good”, has lost four places in the 2022 ranking of Reporters Without Borders, thus falling to 14th place. Recent provisions affecting the freedom of the press explain this result in particular.

With the participation of

  • Edgar Bloch , co-President, impressum, Swiss Journalists
  • Daniel Hammer , General Secretary, Swiss Media
  • Denis Masmejan , Secretary General, Reporters Without Borders, Switzerland
  • Dominique Pradalié , President, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and National Syndicate of Journalists (France)
  • Marc Meschenmoser , co-president
  • Jean-Philippe Ceppi , producer, TempsPresent (RTS) and member
  • Nicole Lamon , Associate Editor, Matin Dimanche
  • Frédéric Julliard , editor-in-chief, Tribune de Genève
  • Philippe Bach , editor-in-chief, Le Courrier
  • Serge Michel , Editor-in-Chief,
  • Tim Dawson , National Union of Journalists, Great Britain (zoom)
  • Karen Percy,   President of Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), Australia (Zoom)
  • Mika Beuster, Co-Head, Deutscher Journalisten Verband, (Association of German Journalists), Germany (Zoom)
  • Jean Musy , President of the Association of the Foreign Press in Switzerland (APES)
  • Agustin Yanel , General Secretary, Federation of Spanish Journalists’ Unions, Spain
  • Pierre Ruetschi , Executive Director, Swiss Press Club and President of the Dumur Prize.

Ten other Swiss editors support the Appeal. Other international organizations join the Call.

This video was originally published at the Geneva Press Club.