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Assange’s Extradition Matters
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Assange’s Extradition Matters

Julian Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London this morning.

He is being charged with not attending court, in relation to dropped Swedish sexual assault claims, and attempting to decrypt classified US files with Chelsea Manning.

Freelance Investigative Reporter Crina Boros told London Conversation:

As an investigative reporter, I value the unprecedented transparency Wikileaks has facilitated.

This has allowed audiences to inspect the detail of what is being done in their name.

Leaks would be less necessary if we had genuinely open governments.

The fates of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are equally important in the timeline of efforts to improve transparency across the world.

Whatever happens to Assange and Manning must be monitored by the press. We are all direct stakeholders. We mustn’t lose sight of the way they are handled and the integrity of every law, tribunal and institution that eventually decides their fate.

Since all this is taking place in Western, democratic countries, we should put their Freedom of Information laws to the test.
Wikileaks kickstarted a wave of revelations that has not just pushed buttons, but increased transparency expectations .

Since WikiLeaks, ICIJ, OCCRP and other cross border investigative initiatives some countries have experienced essential wins.

For example, in Britain we can now verify a company’s shareholders, for free, online.

Could your government open up without human sacrifice?

The Centre of Investigative Journalism (CIJ) in London also responded to the arrest:

 

The CIJ notes with grave concern Julian Assange’s arrest at the Embassy of Ecuador in London today. The organisation that he leads, Wikileaks, was pioneering in its publication of classified media – which is why, in its early years, the CIJ loaned it some of our interns. Wikileaks material from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere has become a unique, invaluable resource for investigative journalists and scholars around the world. Its innovations – from cross-border, collaborative reporting to systems for secure, anonymous leaks – have been borrowed by almost every major news outlet in the world.

Whatever your view of its philosophy of radical transparency, Wikileaks is a publisher. Any charges now brought in connection with that material, or any attempt to extradite Mr Assange to the United States for prosecution under the deeply flawed cudgel of the Espionage Act 1917, is an attack on all of us.

Mr Assange deserves the solidarity of the community of investigative journalists. The world is now watching.

Assange was taken to Westminster Magistrates Court

 

Matt Taibbi:

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