Julian Assange is still imprisoned; journalism’s future is still in jeopardy.
Delegates from Australia’s parliament are headed to Washington to appeal to the U.S. Congress on behalf of the Wikileaks founder. While anyone who recognizes the injustice of Washington’s insistence on extradition of the jailed journalist and publisher, this effort by representatives of several parties may be too late. In any event, it is very late.
This Australian door did not open until the 2022 election of Anthony Albanese, who replaced Scott Morrison, the nation’s uncompromising Prime Minister.
For many years the campaign to gain justice for Assange was largely centered in London, with activists focusing their attention on a succession of legal appeals to the British court that could have freed Assange from prison and denied U.S.’s extradition order. Legal actions were buttressed by supporters who included vocal celebrity journalists appealing for justice on the grounds that this case was basically about a free press, and that the extradition, based on the U.S. 1917 Espionage Act, was inapplicable. Free speech advocates fear indictment of Assange by U.S. courts would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the integrity of the entire profession.