Press Release

Free press organizations welcome the High Court ruling

May 20, 2024 — Free press, civil liberties and human rights organizations around the world welcomed the High Court’s decision to allow Julian Assange to appeal his extradition, stressing once more the indictment’s disastrous implications for press freedom and calling on the U.S. government to finally end this dangerous prosecution.

Reporters Without Borders

“This decision marks an important milestone in Julian Assange’s legal case, opening up a vital new path to prevent extradition. The two grounds for appeal that have been granted mean that, for the first time in three years, the UK courts will consider the issues at the very heart of this case, related to freedom of expression and the First Amendment. We urge the UK to act in the interest of journalism and press freedom and refuse to further enable this dangerous prosecution.”

Rebecca Vincent, RSF Director of Campaigns

Amnesty International

“The USA’s ongoing attempt to prosecute Assange puts media freedom at risk worldwide. It ridicules the USA’s obligations under international law, and their stated commitment to freedom of expression. In trying to imprison him, the US is sending the unambiguous message that they have no respect for freedom of expression, and that they wish to send a warning to journalists and publishers everywhere: that they too could be targeted, for receiving and publishing classified material — even if doing so is in the public interest.”

Simon Crowther, Amnesty International Legal Advisor

Article 19

The decision by the United Kingdom High Court to allow Julian Assange to appeal against his extradition to the United States is a welcome step forward but US President Joe Biden should take action to free Assange now, underlines the statement from Australia’s Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance

“MEAA welcomes the decision of the High Court, but we remain concerned that there is no guarantee of success. The appeal may not be heard until late this year or even next year. In the meantime, his mental and physical wellbeing is deteriorating. The only clear path to freedom is for the US to drop the charges, end its prosecution and allow him to be released from jail. President Biden has the power to do this by the stroke of a pen. Last month, he said his administration was ‘considering’ Assange’s case. It is now time to resolve it.”

Karen Percy, MEAA Media Federal President

UK’s National Union of Journalists

“At this crucial juncture, this judgment serves as a positive step forward for Assange and for every journalist seeking to reveal truths through their reporting. With each passing day, the US government’s relentless pursuit contributes to Assange’s worsening health whilst displaying a disregard for practices adopted by journalists globally, during their investigative journalism. We welcome today’s judgment and hope it is the first step in victory for Assange. The Department of Justice can still seize the opportunity to end this legal battle and the chilling impact his extradition would have.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary

Committee to Protect Journalists

PEN International, English PEN, PEN Norway

“As the implications of this decision reverberate globally, reminding us of the critical importance of defending free speech, we remain acutely aware that Assange’s fight for freedom continues. The US authorities’ judicial harassment of Assange must stop at once. We urge them to drop all charges against Assange and to withdraw their extradition request. The UK authorities must release him from prison immediately and refrain from extraditing him.”

Freedom of the Press Foundation

“On appeal, we urge the court to refuse to extradite Assange. But better yet, the Biden administration can and should end this case now. If Biden continues to pursue the Assange prosecution, he risks creating a precedent that could be used against any reporter who exposes government secrets, even if they reveal official crimes. If the Biden administration cares about press freedom, it must drop the Assange case immediately.”

Caitlin Vogus, FPF Deputy Director

International Federation of Journalists