"The charges against Julian Assange are unprecedented, frightening, and a blow to the freedom of the press"

Associations for the defense of liberties and jurists were scandalized by the accusations of espionage of the American justice.

The charges against Julian Assange




Associations for the defense of liberties and jurists were scandalized by the accusations of espionage of the American justice.


On an image, four circles, each representing a famous dystopian novel, and a critique of totalitarian societies: 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Best of the Worlds, The Scarlet Servant. In their center, where the circles intersect, a mention: "You are here".

The illustration, shared by whistleblower Edward Snowden on the night of Thursday 23 to Friday, May 24, says a lot about the concerns of defenders of freedoms after the new unprecedented wave of accusations against Julian Assange, now being prosecuted in states United States for breach of the Espionage Act.

The procedure, rare and legally hazardous, directly raises the question of the freedom of the press, yet protected in the United States by the First Amendment. Because what the WikiLeaks founder is accused of collecting and publishing secret documents is what the media do. By the way, in 2010, the New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde or Der Spiegel had collaborated with the platform and published the documents that are worth to Julian Assange today to be accused of espionage.

After the announcement of these new charges, the associations for the defense of freedoms immediately sounded the alarm. "For the first time in the history of our country, the government starts a criminal procedure against a publisher for the publication of truthful information. It's a direct attack on the first amendment and an unprecedented escalation of the Trump administration's attacks on journalism, "said the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). powerful association defending the rights of citizens.

Same opinion from the Freedom of the Press Foundation, an NGO that defends "a really shocking development", which goes beyond the simple framework of WikiLeaks. "No matter what your personal opinion of Assange is, these new charges against him are unprecedented, frightening, and a blow to the heart of the fundamental right to freedom of the press." Its executive director, Trevor Timm, even mentions "the most significant and terrifying threat to the first amendment in the twenty-first century".

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Charges that could apply to journalists


Several jurists also noted the danger of this procedure. "Regardless of what you think of WikiLeaks or Assange, prosecutions on behalf of the Espionage Act can only go wrong for press freedom in this country," corroborates David Kaye, a law professor at the University of Irvine in California and UN special rapporteur for the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression.

In the Washington Post, Floyd Abrams, a lawyer specializing in press law, separates Julian Assange, a "particularly unattractive defendant in many ways," from the charge itself, which "poses profound problems, leading the first amendment, for journalists covering national defense, intelligence activities, etc. "

"The charges are almost exclusively based on activities that investigative journalists conduct on a daily basis. This charge is a frontal attack on the freedom of the press, "reacted in the columns of the New York Times Jameel Jaffer, first amendment expert at Columbia University. And this same New York Times to specify that as all the media having procured these confidential information, it could be pursued in the same way as Julian Assange, by virtue of this new application of the Espionage Act.


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"From a factual point of view, there is a world of difference between what Assange is accused of and what professional journalists do. The point is that the theory on which his charge is based does not make much distinction, reports in the Washington Post Steve Vladeck, professor at the Texas Law School, the School of Law. There is no need to feel sympathy for Assange to worry about this kind of precedent, whereby suing third parties for the publication of classified information would become routine, even if illegal. "

For the famous whistleblower Edward Snowden, who spoke on his Twitter account, "the US Department of Justice has just declared war - not WikiLeaks, but the journalism itself. Julian Assange is no longer the heart of the problem. This trial will decide the future of the media.

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Breaking Vietnam news | Vietnam's #1 News Site | Viet-News.com: "The charges against Julian Assange are unprecedented, frightening, and a blow to the freedom of the press"
"The charges against Julian Assange are unprecedented, frightening, and a blow to the freedom of the press"
Associations for the defense of liberties and jurists were scandalized by the accusations of espionage of the American justice.
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