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Pacific Media Watch

The Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA) has joined media freedom groups supporting Julian Assange, an Australian citizen whose unjust prosecution continues to undermine press freedoms and human rights.

In light of recent developments and mounting concerns over Assange’s deteriorating health, JERAA said in a statement it had urged the United States to drop all charges against Assange and facilitate his immediate return to Australia.

Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been the subject of relentless persecution by the US government for his efforts to expose war crimes and government misconduct.

Assange received a Walkley Award in 2011 for outstanding contribution to journalism through Wikileaks, which included the release of the 2010 “collateral murder” video and the publication of classified US diplomatic cables, shedding light on atrocities committed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It is concerning that Assange faces up to 175 years in jail if found guilty of espionage charges — a sentence that would effectively silence whistle-blowers and journalists worldwide,” JERAA said.

The association said it believed that Assange’s indictment set a dangerous precedent and posed a grave threat to the fundamental principles of press freedom and freedom of expression.

‘Enough is enough’
JERAA commended Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for his support in calling for Assange’s release and said it echoed his sentiment that “enough is enough.”

PM Albanese’s recent vote in the federal Parliament for a motion demanding Assange’s return to Australia underscores the legitimacy of our demand. The motion, which received overwhelming support, leaves no room for ambiguity — it is time to bring Assange home.

The WikiLeaks 2010 “collateral damage” video.         Video: Al Jazeera

As the UK High Court prepares to rule on Assange’s appeal against extradition in a two-day hearing next week (February 20-21), and with Prime Minister Albanese’s continued efforts to advocate for Assange’s release, JERAA has urged the US to heed the calls for justice and drop all charges against Assange.

It is imperative that Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen be respected, and that he be afforded the opportunity to return home.

JERAA president Associate Professor Alexandra Wake said that while some members might not agree with all Assange has done in his life, it was clear that his work was central to our “understanding of press freedoms and human rights”.

“JERAA upholds the principles of a free and independent press. It is time to end the trial of global media freedom,” she said.

This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by Pacific Media Watch.


[1] Pacific Media Watch | Asia Pacific Report ➤[2] Julian Assange | Search Results | Asia Pacific Report ➤