UK government must not aid US in Assange extradition efforts
The National Union of Journalists is alarmed to learn that UK police officers have approached British-based journalists, apparently seeking evidence intended to aid the prosecution of Julian Assange.
The union is concerned by reports of “voluntary interview” approaches to reporters and urges the UK government not to allow Assange’s extradition to the US, or assist with information gathering.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
“British police should not be deployed to undertake another country’s dirty work, particularly when it involves pressuring journalists to assist with a case that has such potential to damage free expression and investigative reporting. We have long called for the charges for which Assange's extradition is sought to be dropped, and have highlighted the danger caused by the US government’s relentless pursuit of this case.
“The UK must play no part in supporting Assange’s extradition and journalists should not have to fear being contacted to aid a case that poses considerable threat to media freedom and to journalists worldwide. Nor should they have to worry about potential consequences of refusing to take part in such interviews, in relation to future travel or work in the US.”
Assange faces 175 years in prison if convicted by United States courts of charges faced, including several from the Espionage Act. The NUJ has opposed efforts to extradite him, joining the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in condemning the chilling effect this will have on journalists worldwide who fear their reporting may see them imprisoned.
NUJ members have joined protests demonstrating against his extradition and have supported the Free Assange Now! campaign. The union continues to raise awareness about Assange’s case, and opposes his persecution.