NUJ: government should oppose Assange’s prosecution
On the eve of the ruling in Julian Assange’s extradition case, the NUJ calls on the UK government to make a clear statement that the prosecution of Julian Assange would be grievously damaging to media freedom.
On the eve of the ruling in Julian Assange's extradition case, the NUJ calls on the UK government to make a clear statement that the prosecution of Julian Assange would be grievously damaging to media freedom.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser is due to hand down judgement in Assange's extradition hearing tomorrow morning (Monday 4 January 2021). Whatever her decision, a further period of appeal is likely.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said:
"Whatever you think of Assange, he clearly brought important information to wide attention. Now he faces prosecution for actions that are commonplace for investigative journalists. If this prosecution is successful, it will chill the media worldwide.
"In 2019, I was in the audience at a conference convened by the UK government to develop a global plan to promote media freedom. In a keynote speech, then Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP assured delegates from all over the world: 'We are on the side of those who seek to report the truth and bring the facts to light. We stand against those who suppress or censor or who exact revenge.'
"For the sake of that principle, it is vital for the UK government to make clear that extradition and prosecution of Julian Assange for these charges would be a grievous blow to the media freedom it promises to champion."
The hearing will be attended by NUJ NEC member Tim Dawson who has attended and monitored the proceedings on behalf of the NUJ and International Federation of Journalists.