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Editors Guild urges U.S. to drop all charges against Julian Assange

It says U.S. government has been making a mockery of freedom of speech by harassing and intimidating him

The Editors Guild of India has urged the U.S. government to withdraw all charges against WikiLeaks promoter Julian Assange. The U.S. government has been making a mockery of freedom of speech by harassing and intimidating him, the Guild said.

The Guild’s statement came after the U.K. court’s judgment turning down the U.S. government’s request to extradite Mr. Assange. The Guild said Mr. Assange was being persecuted for doing his journalistic duty of bringing truth to power. “The U.S. government, which has been leading this harassment and intimidation, has made a mockery of freedom of speech that is explicitly assured in the U.S. Constitution and what ought to be a universal democratic practice,” it said.

If the U.S. Department of Justice does not drop charges under the espionage act of ‘publishing documents’ against Mr. Assange, it would have implications on how governments all over the world, including India, perceived investigative and national security journalism, the Guild said.

The British court turned down the request for extraditing Mr. Assange, it did so on grounds of his mental condition and not for protecting his freedom of speech and exercising his journalistic duty. “The Assange case could have been a path breaker to ensure that individuals exercising their democratic rights are protected against governments they scrutinise,” the Guild said.

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