Twelve years ago, on November 28, 2010, our five international media outlets—
The New York Times
, EL PAÍS, and
published a series of revelations in collaboration with WikiLeaks that made headlines around the world.
Cablegate , a
of 251,000 confidential US State Department documents, uncovered international corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy entanglements.
In the words of
The New York Times
, the documents told "the no-nonsense story of how governments make their most important decisions, the ones that cost the country the most in lives and money."
Even now, in 2022, journalists and historians continue to publish new insights from that unique documentary background.
For Julian Assange, editor of WikiLeaks, the publication of
and other related leaks has had the most serious consequences.
On April 12, 2019, Assange was arrested in London pursuant to a US arrest warrant, and has now been held for three and a half years in a high-security UK prison normally used for terrorists and members of organized crime groups.
He faces extradition to the United States and a sentence of up to 175 years in a maximum security US prison.
This group of editors and editors, all of whom have worked with Assange, felt the need to publicly criticize his conduct in 2011, when raw copies of the documents were released, and some of us are concerned by the allegations in the indictment, according to which he tried to assist in the computer intrusion of a secret database.
But now we come together to express our deep concern about the continued persecution of Julian Assange for obtaining and publishing classified materials.
The Obama-Biden administration, in office during the publication of WikiLeaks in 2010, refrained from suing Assange on the grounds that he would have had to denounce journalists from the main media as well.
Her position placed great importance on freedom of the press despite the unpleasant consequences.
However, with Donald Trump the position changed.
The Justice Department relied on an old law, the Espionage Act of 1917 (intended to prosecute potential spies during World War I), which had never been used to prosecute a publisher or network.
This indictment sets a dangerous precedent and threatens to undermine America's First Amendment and press freedom.
Holding governments accountable is part of the primary mission of a free press in a democracy.
Obtaining and revealing sensitive information is a fundamental part of the daily work of journalists.
If this work is criminalized, our public discourse and our democracies are considerably weakened.
Twelve years after the publication of
, the time has come for the US government to end its persecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.
Publishing is not a crime.
The directors and editors of
The New York Times,
and EL PAÍS.
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