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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may be under house arrest in England, but that isn’t stopping him from celebrating the one-year anniversary of the release of more than 250,000 U.S. embassy cables with a few slams against journalism.
Assange spoke at the Global Editors Network summit in Hong Kong on Monday via Skype, and the Wikileaks founder had plenty to say about the state of journalism.
“We all know what is going on,” said Assange. “As insiders we all know when people in the media become powerful … editors are invited to sit at the table of those powerful individuals and the reality is that’s why most journalists go into journalism. It is to crawl up the ladder of power to become associated with power, to sit at the same table as those you hold to account.”
Assange, who spoke for 40 minutes during the conference, is currently under house arrest due to as he continues to fight extradition to Sweden. Earlier this year, a British judge ordered Assange to return to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault and rape. Assange denies the allegations, which he claims are politically motivated.
“Editors become corrupted and they do not hold those very people to account, we know that,” Assange continued during the conference. “If the press doesn’t hold powerful corporations and governments to account then how can a democratic process work?” Assange said. “But the mainstream press has failed in that task and failures are becoming evident and corruption in individual cases are becoming evident.”
“The mainstream press is not able to be its own gatekeeper any more,” added Assange.
On Nov. 28, 2010, Wikileaks released hundreds of thousands of classified documents and U.S. embassy cables. The leaks made headlines around the world and resulted in the arrest of Bradley Manning, the U.S. solider accused of sending Wikileaks the classified cables.
The whistleblower site has suspended publishing, blaming rising legal costs.
Just a day before his biting speech, Assange was awarded an Australian journalism award, a Walkley, for most outstanding contribution to journalism.
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