The massive campaign of intimidation against WikiLeaks is sending a chill through free media advocates everywhere.
Top US politicians have called WikiLeaks a terrorist organization and suggested assassination of its staff, and the organization has come under intense government and corporate attack. But WikiLeaks is only publishing information passed to it by a whistle-blower. And it has partnered with the world's leading newspapers to vet the information it publishes.
If WikiLeaks has broken laws, it should face legal action. But the immense extra-judicial intimidation is an attack on democracy. We urgently need a public outcry for freedom of the press and expression. Sign the petition to stop the crackdown and forward this email to everyone -- let's get 1 million voices this week!
WikiLeaks isn't acting alone -- it has partnered with the top newspapers in the world (The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc.) to carefully review 250,000 US diplomatic cables and remove any information that it is irresponsible to publish. Only 800 cables have been published so far. Past WikiLeaks publications have exposed government-backed torture, the murder of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and corporate corruption [plus government corruption and abuses of power in various places around the world].
The US government is currently pursuing all legal avenues to stop WikiLeaks from publishing more cables, but the laws of democracies protect freedom of the press. The US and other governments may not like the laws that protect our freedom of expression, but that's exactly why it's so important that we have them, and why only a democratic process can change them.
Reasonable people can disagree on whether WikiLeaks is releasing more information than the public should see, whether it undermines diplomatic confidentiality and whether that's a good thing, whether its founder Julian Assange has the personal character of a hero or a villain. But none of this justifies a vicious campaign of intimidation to silence a legal media outlet by governments and corporations. Click to join the call to stop the crackdown.
Ever wonder why the media so rarely gives the full story of what happens behind the scenes? This is why - because when they do, governments [and corporations] can be vicious in their response. And when that happens, it's up to the public to stand up for our democratic rights to a free press and freedom of expression. Never has there been a more vital time for us to do so.
- Avaaz.org.I think this is a well-worded petition. There is no need to agree with WikiLeak's tactics or its specific judgements on some cables to be disgusted with or at least disturbed by elements of the official response.
PS Hooray for Rudd: "Mr Assange is not himself responsible for the unauthorised release of 250,000 documents from the US diplomatic communications network. The Americans are responsible for that. [...] I think there are real questions to be asked about the adequacy of [the US] security systems and the level of access that people have had to that material. [...] The core responsibility, and therefore legal liability, goes to those individuals responsible for that initial unauthorised release."
Kudos too to the hundreds of academics, writers, editors, lawyers, journalists, politicians and other Australian figures who have sent this open letter to PM Gillard, calling for her to uphold the rule of law. I have written to her about this as well, which you can do here.
And Malcolm Turnbull talks a great deal of sense.
As does Frank La Rue, the UN representative for freedom of opinion and expression.
And, of course, Assange himself deserves to be heard.