[THS] Australia: Media chiefs throw support behind WikiLeaks
The Harder Stuff in news and commentary
ths at psalience.org
Wed Dec 15 14:35:14 CET 2010
Media chiefs throw support behind WikiLeaks
On Monday 13 December 2010, 19:43 EST
Some of Australia's most senior media professionals, including bosses of major
newspapers, television networks and websites, have written to Prime Minister Julia
Gillard to express their support for WikiLeaks.
The letter was initiated by the board of the Walkley Foundation, Australia's
professional journalism organisation.
The letter said the leaking of 250,000 confidential American diplomatic cables was the
most astonishing leak of official information in recent history and its full implications
were yet to emerge.
"In essence, WikiLeaks, an organisation that aims to expose official secrets, is doing
what the media have always done: bringing to light material governments would
prefer to keep secret," the letter said.
"It is the media's duty to responsibly report such material if it comes into their
"To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who
publish official leaks and to pressure companies to cease doing commercial business
with WikiLeaks is a serious threat to democracy, which relies on a free and fearless
The letter, signed by editors and news directors, including ABC director of news Kate
Torney, said the reaction of the US and Australian governments "to date has been
"We will strongly resist any attempts to make the publication of these or similar
documents illegal," it said.
"Any such action would impact not only on WikiLeaks but every media organisation in
the world that aims to inform the public about decisions made on their behalf."
But the group does not support "the publication of material that threatens national
security or anything which would put individual lives in danger".
"Those judgments are never easy, but there has been no evidence to date that the
WikiLeaks material has done either," it said.
"There is no evidence, either, that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have broken any
"The Australian Government is investigating whether Mr Assange has committed an
offence and the Prime Minister has condemned WikiLeaks's actions as 'illegal'.
"So far, it has been able to point to no Australian law that has been breached."
The Walkley Foundation letter said WikiLeaks "is part of the media and deserves our
"WikiLeaks has no doubt made errors. But many of its revelations have been
significant," it said.
"It has given citizens an insight into US thinking about some of the most complex
foreign policy issues of our age, including North Korea, Iran and China."
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