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Trump administration charges against WikiLeaks founder could strike a blow against free press

The Trump administration has been investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for his alleged collaboration with the Russian government after the Obama administration laid off Assange considering him the head of a journalistic enterprise. Now the Reporter Committee for Freedom of the Press is asking that the details of  secret charges against Assange be made public after the government erred in revealing that Assange was being charged. (Ars Technica, November 17, 2018, by Timothy B. Lee)

The Justice Department has held up announcing the charges against Assange for fears that Assange could evade extradition. They are waiting for Assange to be arrested in a criminal case. Assange has been out of reach for years in Ecuador’s London embassy. (The Daily Beast, November 16, 2018, by Kevin Poulsen and Spencer Ackerman)

The charges against Assange reignites concerns over how his case could hurt U.S. news outlets and weaken First Amendment protections. Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth fears how it could all turn out, “Deeply troubling if the Trump administration, which has shown little regard for media freedom, would charge Assange for receiving from a government official and publishing classified information—exactly what journalists do all the time.” (The New York Times, November 16, 2018, by Charlie Savage)

For earlier FAC coverage of WikiLeaks, click here and here.

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