DARE: Press Freedoms and the Case Against Julian Assange, Explained
Want to receive this digest in your inbox? To subscribe, simply click here and choose DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression from the list.
Assange’s arrest and the charge he faces (conspiracy to hack a government computer) generate debate about and divisions over the implications for press freedom, as advocates debate whether the prosecution poses a threat. We are including here a sample of commentary pieces advancing different perspectives on the indictment, and we’ll be sharing more on our social media channels throughout the day. Washington state reverses ban on books in prisons and will now allow people in prison to receive books in the mail. (See PEN America’s previous statement urging Washington to rescind its former policy.) University of Arizona students and faculty urge misdemeanor charges be dropped for three students arrested after protesting presence of Border Patrol on campus. U.S. Secretary of State privately urges Saudi prince to cut ties with Saudi aide who was involved in murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (See the coalition letter we sent to the U.S., French, and British governments urging them to make the Saudi criminal trial public.) -Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs
The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today
Press Freedoms and the Case Against Julian Assange, Explained
Throughout that saga, national security and law enforcement officials in both the Obama and the Trump administrations have weighed whether they could charge Assange with a crime. That debate has raised concerns by press freedom advocates about what any precedent established by his case would mean for First Amendment rights and the future of investigative journalism in the United States.
NEW YORK TIMES
Julian Assange’s Charges Are a Direct Assault on Press Freedom, Experts Warn
Academics and campaigners condemned large chunks of the indictment that they said went head-to-head with basic activities of journalism protected by the First Amendment. They said these sections of the charges rang alarm bells that should reverberate around the world.
Opinion: Julian Assange Is Not a Free-Press Hero. And He Is Long Overdue for Personal Accountability.
“Unlike real journalists, WikiLeaks dumped material into the public domain without any effort independently to verify its factuality or give named individuals an opportunity to comment. Nor, needless to say, would a real journalist have cooperated with a plot by an authoritarian regime’s intelligence service to harm one U.S. presidential candidate and benefit another.”
Washington Corrections Officials Reverse Ban, Will Allow Prisoners to Get Used Books in the Mail
After an outcry by a Seattle nonprofit and questions from state lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee, corrections officials reversed their recent ban against organizations mailing books to people in prisons.
University of Arizona Urged to Drop Cases Involving Immigration Protest
Faculty, immigrant rights advocates, and students are mounting pressure against officials at the Tucson campus to drop the cases and stand by the three students charged for protesting against the visiting border agents.
U.S. Urges Saudi Prince to Ditch Aide Linked to Khashoggi Killing *PEN Case List: Learn More
U.S. authorities believe that Saud al-Qahtani, a former aide to the crown prince, oversaw the team that killed Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He is thought to have remained a confidant of Prince Mohammed. Mike Pompeo privately urged him to cut ties with the adviser.
Ex-Soldier Charged with Killing Slovak Journalist Said to Have Confessed
A former soldier charged with killing investigative journalist Ján Kuciak has reportedly confessed to his murder. Kuciak and his fiance Martina Kusnirova were gunned down in their home in February 2018 as he prepared to publish a report on alleged ties between Slovak politicians and the Italian mafia, and associated irregularities in EU farm subsidy payments.
German State Drops Investigation Into Political Artist, but Outcry Keeps Growing
A criminal investigation into an artist who built a partial replica of Germany’s national Holocaust memorial next to the home of a far-right politician has been formally closed, more than 16 months after it began but less than a week after its existence became public.
NEW YORK TIMES
Opinion: Why Hong Kong Can’t Ignore Decline in Press Freedom Rankings
“To enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness, a higher degree of press freedom is desirable and would include measures such as making administrative procedures transparent and holding more press conferences. A high degree of press freedom avoids the possibility of officials abusing their power and communicates to the public that the government is transparent.”
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
DARE is a project of PEN America’s #LouderTogether campaign, bringing you a daily-curated roundup of the most important free expression-related news from the U.S. and abroad. Send your feedback and story suggestions to DARE@pen.org