Monitoring threats to the right to publish
As a member of the News Media for Open Government (NMOG) coalition, ONA recently joined with other press organizations in a statement about the serious constitutional concerns raised by a new indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The superseding indictment, released by the Department of Justice on May 23, added 17 charges under the Espionage Act for obtaining and publishing classified military and diplomatic records in 2010. These charges are in addition to his original charge under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for helping Chelsea Manning hack into a Pentagon computer network.
Regardless of whether you agree with Assange’s methods, or consider him a “journalist,” the government’s decision to bring criminal charges over the receipt and publication of classified information threatens the practice of journalism and sets a deeply alarming precedent. ONA’s Legal Affairs, News Ethics and Standards Committee will be monitoring the case and its implications for digital journalists.