Democracy is attacked when the federal government prosecutes Wikileaks.

June 1, 2012 | By | 4 Replies More

As Glenn Greenwald explains, an attack on Wikileaks is an attack on traditional investigative journalism.

A coalition of leading journalists and media outlets in Australia have explained: WikiLeaks “is doing what the media have always done: bringing to light material that governments would prefer to keep secret” and prosecuting them “would be unprecedented in the US, breaching the First Amendment protecting a free press“; they added: “To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who publish official leaks . . . is a serious threat to democracy.” The Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder expressing “deep concern” over “reports about a potential WikiLeaks prosecution,” which “would threaten grave damage to the First Amendment’s protections of free speech and the press.” Although American journalists were reluctant at first to speak out, even they have come around to recognizing what a profound threat an Assange indictment would be to press freedoms, with The Washington Post Editorial Page denouncing any indictment on the ground that it “would criminalize the exchange of information and put at risk responsible media organizations,” and even editors of the Guardian and Keller himself — with whom Assange has feuded — are now vowing to defend Assange if he were to be prosecuted.

To take it a step further, an attack on investigative journalism is an invitation for the government to act unaccountably, in secret, which is absolutely in conflict with the notion that the U.S. government is being run by the citizens. To connect the dots, a federal criminal prosecution of Wikileaks is an attack on democracy. For more see this post, and see this article demonstrating that Wikileaks is doing nothing different than the New York Times when the Times is doing its job well.


Category: Journalism, Orwellian, Propaganda, Secrecy

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Julian Assange seeks asylum from Ecuador : Dangerous Intersection | June 19, 2012
  1. Erich Vieth says:

    “WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange has asked for political asylum in Ecuador and officials in the South American nation are considering his request, its foreign minister said on Tuesday.”

  2. Tony says:

    A risk for “responsible” media organizations – that’s what is boils down. The MSM perceive themselves as god-given gate-keepers, they decide what gets published and what gets buried, making themselves gladly to government propaganda shills. That’s the reason they dislike Wikileaks, because it infringes their monopoly.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Here is a list from 2010 of important revelations made by Wikileaks.

    Consider, also, this (accurate) description of how most of the news media unfairly characterizes Julian Assange:

    [T]he single most-hated figure in Western media circles is the person who enabled more disclosure, transparency and scoops about the West’s most powerful government and corporate factions than all Western media outlets combined: Julian Assange (Bradley Manning isn’t far behind). This is the case even though successful efforts to prosecute WikiLeaks would be the gravest threat to a free press in decades, literally — something about which journalists, with rare exceptions, have been largely silent if not supportive.

    Recall that on the day that WikiLeaks began publishing diplomatic cables — revealing all sorts of deceit, corruption and illegality — CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was completely indifferent to the revelations themselves, but was furious that the U.S. Government allowed these disclosures to take place and thus forced him and his viewers to learn what the U.S. Government and its allies were doing in the dark. Or recall the debate I had with CNN’s Jessica Yellin and Fran Townsend in which both insisted that WikiLeaks should be criminally prosecuted for the leaks it enabled.

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