UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Many jurists fear WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be accused of receiving classified information and publishing the sacred protection of American journalists, saying they are at risk of being criminally prosecuted for their work on their sources.
Sixteen of the 17 US Justice Department allegations against Australian Julian Assange, now in Britain, involve confidential information and dissemination.
It is a secret diplomatic and military document obtained by Chelsea Manning, a former US analyst who was sentenced to prison in 2016 for these leaks.
In an effort to prevent a campaign by press rights defenders, Justice Department official John Demiers said Assange was “not a journalist” to separate him from the press.
“This is not a newspaper job,” said Ben Rhodes, a former adviser to US President Barack Obama, in the podcast of “The Sword of the World.” He said Assange was “not driven by transparency … but with very specific objectives” and “has been working in recent years at least as an extension of Russian intelligence.”
But others have pointed out that the target facts date back to 2010, long before the 2016 presidential campaign, during which WikiLeaks published internal Democratic Party documents obtained from Russian intelligence.
“The problem is not because the definition of the journalist applies or does not apply, but because it is accused of doing exactly what professional journalists do every day,” said Sonia West, a professor of law at Georgia State University. “The search for, obtaining and publishing important information about our administration “He said.
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“The issue is not whether Osnag is a journalist, but whether the first amendment of the constitution is covered,” said Floyd Abrams, a lawyer at Kahn Gordon & Rendell’s office and an expert on freedom of expression.
The first constitutional amendment is considered the best basis for press freedom worldwide.
“If Assange is convicted … the problem is that there will be no clear principle to distinguish him from the mass media under the First Amendment,” said Mary Rose Papandria, a law professor at the University of North Carolina.
“There is no definition of what a journalist is today,” she said. “There has never been a definition, but with the Internet everyone can be a journalist and anyone who receives information from a source.”
It also raises questions about the strict application of the Espionage Act, passed in 1917 to prevent the leaking of classified information in time of war. This text was used mainly for the prosecutions launched against Assange.
“This shows how journalists appear to be in a fragile position in front of this law,” said Sonya West. The Obama administration has pursued more than all previous administrations, leaks and those behind them in its ranks, but did not accuse any journalist did not pursue Asang himself.
Prior to that, few people, including at least one journalist under the law, had been accused of receiving and publishing classified information, but the prosecutions were systematically dropped.
No editor has been questioned – if Assange is considered to be the editor of Wikileaks – whether he is the head of a press organization or not.
Papandria believes that Assange’s case will be transferred to the Supreme Court, which has never considered the case.
“If the United States can pursue a foreign website (based in WikiLeaks, Iceland) for violating our laws on defense (secrecy), nothing will prevent China or Russia to do the same. ”
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