How The Arrest Of Julian Assange Should Worry Any Journalist Who Believes In Freedom Of The Press
On Thursday, April 11th, the founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange was arrested by London police while he was at the Ecuador Embassy. Assange will be turned in to American authorities and face charges for publishing classified information that endangered American lives in Iraq back in 2010 before he gain asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012. Then Bradly Manning, who is now Chelsea Manning after receiving a sex change, gave Assange the classified information to publish on his Wikileaks news site – the same site where the Clinton/Podesta emails were published in 2015.
Julian Assange is a journalist that has had a perfect record of publishing 100% accurate information, something not many journalist have accomplished. Although some of the information published on the Wikileaks may have resulted in endangering innocent lives before, Assange should not bare the same fault for publishing information but the leaker who did the illegal action to get a hold of the classified information.
Professor Alan Dershowitz from the University of Harvard recently wrote an opinion piece for The Hill sharing his perspective on the Julian Assange arrest. “If the New York Times, in 1971, could lawfully publish the Pentagon Papers knowing they included classified documents stolen by Rand Corporation military analyst Daniel Ellsberg from our federal government, then indeed WikiLeaks was entitled, under the First Amendment, to publish classified material that Assange knew was stolen by former United States Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning from our federal government,” Professor Dershowitz wrote on is Op-ed as he sided with Assange from a legal stance.
When President Trump was allegedly under investigation for colluding with the foreign governments to win the 2016 presidential elections, former FBI Director James Comey admitted before congress that he was the leaker to the New York Times. Comey repeatedly gave classified information to the media and no one ever got in trouble other than him getting fired. The reporter from the New York Times who published the classified information that kept the country divided was not legally persecuted by the U.S. congress.
In January 25th, 2019, when Roger Stone’s arrest took place, CNN was the only news network outside of Stone’s home filming the exclusive footage of the FBI raiding his home. For weeks, the question as to how did CNN knew about the arrest remained. Regardless of CNN claims about a “hunch” of an upcoming arrest, the evidence show otherwise – someone within the Mueller team had emailed CNN two days prior to the raid via email. Yet, no one is in trouble for leaking the information withing the FBI.
Journalist have a responsibility to keep the public informed of what goes on with the government. However, they should not be blamed for enforcing their first amendment right.