The Imprisonment of Julian Assange and the Threat to Journalism

By- Akshaye


It has been more than 1000 days since Julian Assange has been imprisoned at the Belmarsh prison, one of the worst prisons in the United Kingdom. His crime was only to expose how our governments and multinational corporations work. Since the inception of WikiLeaks, it has revealed the workings of the global elite. From the authorisation of despicable activities in Iraq and Afghanistan to the real thoughts of corrupt politicians like Hillary Clinton to revealing the CIA had blueprints to install malware for the purpose of surveilling computers

What we are seeing with the arrest of Julian Assange is the cabal of the global elite using their powers to imprison and silence a man who has shed open their world for all to see. Wikileaks consists of a network of volunteers and employees and management that perform a very important duty to society i.e., conduct ethical and unbiased journalism. Julian Assange is the face of this movement, a movement that not only inspires brave journalism but brave socio-political commentary. We have seen a rise in socio-political commentary in new media platforms like Youtube, Twitch and now Rumble. By arresting Assange and keeping him in poor conditions, the global cabal thinks that the movement will die with the face missing. 

Photo taken from CNN

A Brief History

In 2012, Assange was given asylum by then Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa and Assange was stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In 2019, after several conflicts between the new Ecuadorian government and Assange, his asylum status was revoked and he was arrested by the London police and imprisoned in Belmarsh since then. The Trump administration decided to open a lawsuit against Julian Assange for “violating the espionage act” and has since been going through a legal process in the United Kingdom where the representatives from the United States are fighting to seek approval from the United Kingdom to extradite Assange so that he can face trial in the US justice system. In regards to that process, there have been two major events, the first on 4th January, 2021 which denied extradition due to the strain on his mental health. The second event took place on 10th December, 2021 which allowed the process of extradition. The legal team of Julian Assange are fighting that decision and more is to develop in this case.

The State of Journalism

The treatment of Julian Assange brings forward questions about how free are journalists in the “free” and “western democracies”. Sure, you can check CNN, NBC, or BBC and they might on the surface look free but in reality are controlled by powerful private and public personalities. The news they provide is nothing but the mouthpiece of their corporate benefactors. Whether it’s Amazon for the Washington Post or AT&T for CNN or the British government for the BBC, these media institutes are not free to expose the deep systemic corruption of governments, they are not free to challenge the conventions of the systems they were created in. They serve advertisers like health insurance or defense companies, they serve the politicians who they are desperate to access for the news cycles, and they serve their parent companies who are greatly incentivised to keep the systems the way they are. This is a bias towards the establishment that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange do not have, which is why they had the conviction to publish documents that the BBC or CNN or NBC will never release on their own. 

The western media goes on a crusade to spread the gospel about the lack of free press in many of what are called the “third world countries. But it is quite hypocritical of these institutes to engage in such commentary when their organisations are deeply corrupt and biased towards the privileged class. It’s not tough to see the corruption of these organisations, and it is quite evident if we spend a little time to understand who controls these companies. 

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images


The state of journalism is compromised as the western media institutions invest their time and effort to maintain the status quo while those like Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are persecuted for telling the truth, which is the primary objective of journalism. Journalists and the media are supposed to serve as the 4th estate of democracy and make sure the government is accountable and accessible to its citizens. When the media fails to uphold that objective in a democracy where there is a platform to thrive, it is a great indictment to the decay of journalism.

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