Assault on Wikileaks is an unprecedented threat to journalism


Press Release
Assault on Wikileaks is an unprecedented threat to journalism
Wikileaks has brought egalitarianism in journalism   
New Delhi, March 5, 2013:  A Round Table on 'WikiLeaks, Press Freedom and Status of Legal Cases Against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in chief', dwelt on the implications of vicious attack on the Wikileaks and their sources for the future of journalism across the globe.
The Round Table started with a presentation by Ms Jennifer Robinson who is an Australian human rights lawyer and member of the legal team for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
After briefing the participants including journalists, lawyers, researchers, union leaders and students about the status of the legal cases against WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, Ms Jennifer Robinson said, “Any criminal prosecution of Assange or Wikileaks in the USA will raise serious concern for Press Freedom everywhere including India”.       
Ms Robinson has acted for Assange in extradition proceedings in London brought by Sweden and advised WikiLeaks through the publication of Cablegate. She has also attended the Bradley Manning proceedings in the United States on behalf of WikiLeaks and worked together with the Center for Constitutional Rights to compel disclosure of materials in those proceedings (US v Bradley Manning). She explained the legal situation facing Assange, who has been granted political asylum by Ecuador in order to protect him from persecution in the US but remains in the Ecuador embassy in London, and provide an update on the Bradley Manning proceedings and the ongoing criminal investigation into Wikileaks in the US.
Commenting on her presentation, Arun Kumar, Member, Press Council of India said, “Indian journalistic community have the issues like whether exposing of war crimes, corporate crimes, large scale human rights violations by State actors and corporate citizens as well as the protection of sources and egalitarianism in journalism as most important for survival of journalism across the globe and each and every journalist and freedom loving citizen should join hands with Julian Assange as described by Jennifer Robinson in her experience sharing with us have in the Round Table.”  
Arun Kumar is also the President, The Times of India Newspaper Employees Union, Patna, General Secretary, Bihar Working Journalists Union, Patna and Member National Executive Committee, Indian Journalists Union.
Reflecting on Ms Robinson’s presentation, Anand Swarup Verma, Editor, Teesari Duniya said that the role of USA in impeding fair national security journalism is being exposed by Wikileaks. Its expose has brought the patronage being given to surveillance technology companies in the public domain.
Prashant Bhushan, the eminent Supreme Court lawyer argued that journalists who are whistle-blowers should get immunity even if some laws get violated. He argued for a UN Convention for the protection of whistle-blowers.     
For Details: Gopal Krishna, Member, Citizens Form for Civil Liberties (CFCL), Mb: 9818089660 (Delhi), E-mail: krishna1715@gmail.com

Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) has been campaigning against unregulated biometric, surveillance and identification technology companies since 2010 and had appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee, Finance in this regard. CFCL has consistently underlined that the silence of the States which are quite vocal about threats to federal structure from Union Home Ministry‘s National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) that integrates 21 sets of databases in the matter of the creation of UID’s Centralized Identities Data Register (CIDR) disregarding the fact that Planning Commission’s CIDR and Home Ministry’s National Population Register (NPR) is inexplicable. CFCL is associated with MediaVigil, an association of mass communication practitioners engaging since March 2004 with the issues of democratisation of communication and the right to communicate without which the freedom of expression is meaningless.  

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