WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has become the first person charged under the US Espionage Act who is not a government leaker, indicted this week under 17 counts for publishing classified information. Alarmed press freedom groups warn that the action in effect criminalizes actions that investigative journalists do on a daily basis. The charges are "a direct threat to news gathering, journalists, and news organizations who do that for the public benefit," said Gabe Rottman of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union called the indictments an "extraordinary escalation of the Trump administration's attacks on journalism, and a direct assault on the First Amendment." And the Committee to Project Journalists warned that the move "strikes at the heart of the First Amendment and puts all journalists in extreme danger."
Posted on: May 25, 2019