Monday, May 8, 2017

The government wants Julian Assange in jail. That could hurt the rest of us

Prosecuting Assange under the Espionage Act for publishing leaked information — which Attorney General Jeff Sessions calls “a priority” — is dangerous. It could turn out to be a major move toward what President Trump has long been threatening to do: punish the independent media in America.

“When governments are trying to restrict press rights of any kind, the inclination is not to go after the most popular kid in the room — it’s to go after the least popular,” Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told me.

What WikiLeaks has consistently done, Timm said, “is publish information that is true and that the government considers secret. That’s the same thing that the New York Times or The Washington Post does all the time.” (Sessions’s threatened prosecution reportedly would not focus on the Russian hacks of Democratic officials’ emails, which during the campaign prompted Trump to proclaim: “I love WikiLeaks!”)

No comments:

Post a Comment