As Joe Biden condemns Julian Assange as a “high-tech terrorist” and affirms that officials in the US Justice Department were actively exploring ways to prosecute Assange, some of the country’s media organizations have been issuing statements in wary opposition.
The US media reaction is well outlined by Glenn Greenwald’s December 14th article, ‘Attempts to prosecute WikiLeaks endanger press freedoms’ and was followed up today by a deferential and roundabout article in the NYTimes which eventually concludes:
It is not necessary for America to erect a Chinese-style “Great Firewall” to filter out government criticism; if Mr. Assange were prosecuted, would-be whistleblowers and news tipsters would have to think twice before taking action.
That would be bad news for American journalism …
In the WikiLeaks saga, other commentators have elevated the stakes further, describing the cable dump, the bellicose official response and the juvenile efforts by hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks as the opening salvoes of a long-awaited cyberwar.
Does it really make sense for Washington to escalate? This is one war in which most of the collateral damage would be American.
Internationally, the verdict is much more clear. EFF’s article on December 16th reiterated their own opposition to censorship and their online campaign as well as summarized statements from the following organizations:
• United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
• Amnesty International
• Human Rights First
• Reporter without Borders
• Internet Society
• ARTICLE 19
• Human Rights Watch
• The Committee to Protect Journalists