CN Live! Special Report: Hrafnsson Tells CN Media is Essential to Assange’s Defense

WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson spoke with CN Live! in an interview after his appearance at Australia’s National Press Club.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Accurate reporting by the mainstream media on the case of Julian Assange is essential to his defense against a U.S. extradition request on charges of espionage, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson told CN Live! in an interview after his appearance at Australia’s National Press Club on Tuesday.

Hrafnsson said he has seen a changing tide of support among mainstream journalists, especially in Australia. “I’m not sure if I have the overview of the entire press corps here, but it is heartening to meet so many who understood now the grave implications for press freedom that the case of Julian entails,” he said.  “The great majority of those I talked to were supporting Julian and fighting against his extradition to the U.S.”

“The understanding is growing and the support of journalists is growing as well,” he said. “This is something that has been brewing for some time, ever since the arrest in April.” 

The International Federation of Journalists in June in Tunisia voted without opposition a strong resolution condemning the extradition and treatment of Assange, he pointed out. 

Hrafnsson said a few editorials in The New York Times or The Guardian warning against prosecution of Assange under the Espionage Act did not constitute sufficient support by the Western mainstream media.  It is “in essence a bad excuse of not taking bolder steps … through tough questions, what journalists are supposed to do in questioning authority.”

“We need more critical coverage” in the West, not just “scratching the surface” of an editorial, but an “overall view of the situation and the implications,” Hrafnsson said. 

It is “very important” for British and American journalists to “play a role” as they are “gatekeepers” that have “a duty to report on such an important issue, fairly and with accuracy and with critical questions of those in power,” he said. 

The Assange case touches the “fundamentals of their existence,” Hrafnsson added. 

Since Sweden once again dropped its “preliminary” investigation into sexual assault allegations against Assange one would think the media would no longer use that smear against the imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher. 

“Well that smear has now been pushed aside,” Hrafnsson said. “Those that did the work to look into that situation” saw that the entire process was “very shameful,” he said. 

The WikiLeaks editor said he hoped Assange’s lawyers in Sweden will take action against the government prosecution for mismanagement of the case, which has been “extremely hurtful to Julian.”

You can watch the entire interview here:

 

9 comments for “CN Live! Special Report: Hrafnsson Tells CN Media is Essential to Assange’s Defense

  1. December 5, 2019 at 11:08

    The British grey Govt. behind the Govt. has to keep it’s eye on the ball. It needs to keep two eyes on Julian Assange. You never know if he might tunnel his way out of the Belmarsh Holiday camp. Of course it looks like he may solve the problem for the Govt. by either losing his mind or his life due to his holiday camp conditions. I mean the 75 -1 convicted terrorists are in comparison much less of a threat on the street. The last photo I saw of Julian reminded me of Cardinal Minzenty at his Hungarian show trial in the 50’s

  2. jmg
    December 4, 2019 at 14:30

    Translation of a press release by the German Federation of Journalists, one of the largest journalists’ organizations in Europe:

    > German Federation of Journalists
    > (Deutscher Journalisten-Verband, DJV)

    > Julian Assange: DJV against extradition

    > December 2, 2019

    > The German Association of Journalists opposes the extradition of the whistleblower and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the United States.

    > Assange, whose health is said to have deteriorated rapidly, is currently serving a United Kingdom prison sentence for breach of probation. Subsequently, the US authorities require his extradition to prosecute him for publishing secret government documents. “Assange’s stay at the London Embassy in Ecuador was in fact already a multiple-year prison sentence,” says DJV Federal Chairman Frank Überall. The world public owe the whistleblower comprehensive information and insights into governmental machinations that would otherwise never have come to light.

    > Scandalous was also the monitoring of journalists in the Embassy of Ecuador in London, in which Julian Assange had been taking refuge for years. According to NDR’s information, three journalists from the broadcaster were spied when they visited Assange at the embassy. The broadcaster has filed a complaint. “The journalists involved have the right to know which information has been skimmed off and with what justification this happened,” says Überall.

    (Julian Assange – DJV gegen Auslieferung | DJV – Deutscher Journalisten-Verband | 02. Dezember 2019)

  3. Mary Saunders
    December 4, 2019 at 11:20

    Supporters of Assange need to think carefully about where he would be safe, if released. Russia?

    • Rob Roy
      December 4, 2019 at 20:34

      Mary Saunders,

      Yes. Russia is by far the best place. Julian Assange would be safe there. Putin would just leave him alone, as he has Edward Snowden. Any other place, the US would somehow take him out, but would hesitate to attack Russia.

      Besides, it’s a nice place to live.

    • Chris.r
      December 4, 2019 at 22:42

      A lot safer than he is now.

  4. Skip Scott
    December 4, 2019 at 07:57

    The few editorials in the Guardian and the Times are an attempted ruse to keep the public from realizing that the MSM is nothing more than a tool of Empire. It is “Operation Mockingbird” on steroids. They allow these few dissenters to express themselves (within proper bounds) in the vain attempt to present the MSM as “legitimate” and “independent”. When they allow editorials like those found here at CN, I’ll start believing them.

    • rosemerry
      December 4, 2019 at 12:31

      After all the disgraceful “Guardian” coverage of the Skripal affair and the US “Russsiagate” story, as well as the alleged journalist Luke Harding, who could find the recent pathetic tiny self-serving comments genuine??

  5. December 3, 2019 at 18:36

    The consequences of keeping Julian, at the point in which e is, are of great significance, for the future of journalism, and free speech, all over the world. I come from a country where journalists, and political activists, are constantly killed. So the real message is; “I, the organized crime, and I, the old government, will kill anyone, just to show I can, and the word gets spread.As a warning. The problem is .. nothing stops whisle blowers, or talented journalists from continuing to tell us the truth.
    Nothing can stop the truth. And between the UK, holding Assange, solely on behalf of the US, and the extradition threat, he must feel miserable, sick, confused….This could be the worst mistake of the century.
    The world needs Assange Free.

    #FreeJulianAssangee
    #Wikileaks
    #WeCare
    #OpColibri
    #Unity4J
    #candlessforassange

    • Mary Saunders
      December 4, 2019 at 11:16

      Petitioning the Archbisop of Canterbury is interesting, and i support the prominent persons who did this. Nevertheless, the most famous persons who could also help are possibly Desmond Tutu and Michael Curry, whose present health I admit to being unaware about. It is a sophisticated reconciliation process, which presently seems impossible, that needs to happen. Who thought the Berlin Wall would fall, before it fell?

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