The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes
a statement issued by Australia’s
senior editors and news directors on
December 13 in support of whistleblower website WikiLeaks.
professional journalism organisation the Walkley Foundation, the sister
organisation of IFJ affiliate the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance, comes
in response to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s claims that WikiLeaks
was breaking the law by publishing a cache of 250,000 leaked US diplomatic
and editor-in-chief Julian Assange is an Australian citizen, prompting Gillard and
other senior ministers to suggest he may be charged under Australian law. The
Australian Government has provided no explanation as to what, if any, crimes
Assange may have committed.
journalists, who represent every major Australian newspaper publisher and
television network, echoed the sentiments of IFJ General Secretary Aidan White, who questioned the criticism of
WikiLeaks by politicians around the world. In a statement on December 2, he said the attacks on WikiLeaks were an
affront to free speech and the public’s right to know.
WikiLeaks can also be seen as attacks on the Australian media outlets which have
worked with the organisation to publish leaked material,” Alliance Federal
Secretary and IFJ Asia-Pacific
steering committee member Christopher Warren said.
that the work of WikiLeaks is somehow illegal are yet to be proven in Australia,
or in any other country. The Alliance
and IFJ Asia-Pacific calls on governments
to refrain from prejudicial speculation that risks harming our democratic
statement raises concerns about the potential precedent if Assange is charged,
saying “itwould seriously curtail Australian media organisations
reporting on subjects the Government decides are against its interests”.
Government’s stance on WikiLeaks also came under fire from veteran political
journalist Laurie Oakes, a Walkley Foundation advisory board member, in his
December 9 acceptance
speech of Australian journalism’s highest accolade, the Gold Walkley award.
Oakes received the award for a report based on information leaked during Australia’s
from Australian journalists can be found here:
statement from December 2 can be found here:
Laurie Oakes’ acceptance speech on December 9 can be
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