Journalists from every region of the world have joined together to
support the whistle-blowing organization Wikileaks and its founder
Julian Assange who, they say, have provided an extraordinary resource
for journalists around the world and made "an outstanding contribution
to transparency and accountability on the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars".
journalists, many of whom are prominent investigative reporters, decided to speak out publicly after watching a growing campaign of
threats and unfair criticisms against Assange and Wikileaks.
Following is the statement:
Journalists' statement on attacks on WikiLeaks
Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing organization Wikileaks, is
being angrily criticized and threatened for his part in huge leaks of
military documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (the 'War
Diaries'). He is being accused of irresponsibly releasing confidential
military information, of endangering lives of people named in the leaked
military reports and even of espionage. Some media organizations have
joined in this criticism.
We, journalists and journalist
organizations from many countries, express our support for Mr Assange
and Wikileaks. We believe that Mr Assange has made an outstanding
contribution to transparency and accountability on the Afghanistan and
Iraq wars, subjects where transparency and accountability has been
severely restricted by government secrecy and media control. He is being
attacked for releasing information that should never have been withheld
from the public.
We believe Wikileaks had the right to post
confidential military documents because it was in the interest of the
public to know what was happening. The documents show evidence that the
US Government has misled the public about activities in Iraq and
Afghanistan and that war crimes may have been committed.
Wikileaks endangered lives? There was legitimate criticism of Wikileaks
for not vetting the Afghanistan documents fully enough, with some names
such as informers being released. Fortunately there is no evidence that
anyone has been injured or killed as a result. We note that Wikileaks
learned from that mistake and has been much more careful with the Iraq
documents. Overall, Wikileaks' factual reporting of numerous undisputed
abuses and crimes is of far greater significance than the widely
criticized mistakes over inadequate redacting.
Mr Assange is
being personally pressured because of his involvement in the military
leaks, including threats of espionage charges. Mr. Assange is no more
guilty of espionage than any journalist or any whistleblower. This is a
terrible precedent and one that is contrary to open government.
it is espionage to publish documents provided by whistle blowers, then
every journalist will eventually be guilty of that crime. Mr Assange
deserves our support and encouragement in the face of the attacks.
it was launched in 2006, Wikileaks has been an extraordinary resource
for journalists around the world, furthering transparency at a time when
governments are reducing it. Although it is not part of the media, and
does not purport to be, its mission of informing the public and reducing
unjustified secrecy complements and assists our work. As grateful
beneficiaries of Wikileaks and Mr Assange's work, we stand in support of
them at this time.