Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) is highly disappointed by the UK High Court’s rejection of Julian Assange’s appeal of his extradition to the United States on Espionage Act charges.
While Assange may still have additional legal remedies available to avoid extradition, it seems increasingly likely that it will be up to President Joe Biden, who recently proclaimed that “journalism is not a crime,” to do the right thing and end this Trump-era prosecution.
“The idea of Assange or anyone being tried in a U.S. court for obtaining and publishing confidential documents the same way investigative reporters do every day should be terrifying to all Americans,” said FPF Director of Advocacy Seth Stern.
As FPF Executive Director Trevor Timm has previously explained, anyone who values the First Amendment should staunchly oppose these charges no matter what they think of Assange or Wikileaks. The case is not about one individual, it’s about freedom of the press, and the government weaponizing the Espionage Act to criminalize routine newsgathering.
“If Biden lets this case proceed, future administrations will surely use the precedent of the Assange prosecution, and the unconstitutional authority to criminalize newsgathering that Biden is claiming, to go after journalists they don’t like,” said Stern.
“It’s time for Biden to drop this case and show the world he’s serious about press freedom.”