Urge President Biden to drop Espionage Act charges against Julian Assange!
Petition to President Biden:
We urge you to drop the indictment of Julian Assange for obtaining and publishing US military files deemed secret by the government in 2010. Prosecuting Assange under the Espionage Act would undermine the First Amendment domestically and threaten press freedoms worldwide!
Recently, five news outlets including the New York Times called for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange.1
The Obama administration declined to prosecute Assange but the Trump administration used the outdated Espionage Act of 1917 to charge Assange for obtaining and publishing classified diplomatic and military secrets.2 This law has NEVER been used to prosecute journalists or broadcasters, and its use to punish Assange can create a dangerous chilling effect for all journalists.3 Freedom of the press is on the line, especially journalists’ ability to report on national security issues and the actions of the U.S. government.
Sign the petition: Urge President Biden to drop the Espionage Act charges against Julian Assange. We must protect the freedom of the press.
In 2019, Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks, was arrested in London on a U.S. warrant charging him for obtaining and publishing a “set of 251,000 confidential cables from the US State Department [that] disclosed corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale.”4
The New York Times, the Guardian, and others in their letter claim clearly and unabashedly: “Publishing is not a crime.”5 If journalists cannot publish leaks and investigative findings that show dangerous behavior by the government, the freedom of the press is blatantly undercut.
Not only would the prosecution of Assange under the Espionage Act criminalize US journalists’ right to expose government malfeasance, it would have dire consequences for global journalism. That’s because the indictment implies that the US government’s secrecy laws apply to foreign publishers. That standard could open the door to a dystopian situation in which authoritarian regimes attempt to prosecute journalists that write truthfully but unfavorably about their activities in other countries.6
We must protect press freedom.Add your name to our call to stop the prosecution of Assange under the Espionage Act.