The world has never needed more whistleblowers more. And yet whistleblowers have never face greater fear and uncertainty for speaking out against governments and corporations.
One of the most high-profile whistleblowing cases, that of Julian Assange, is regarded by a wide range of UN experts as unlawful persecution. Assange cannot access his fundamental rights for fear of immediate extradition. This is despite an ostensible detente between Assange and the new Ecuadorean government.
This horrifying precedent stands against the history of the ‘Samizdat’ press, an underground publishing network that held critical opinions on Soviet policy and eventually stoked the atmosphere for Glasnost and Perestroika. Their fearless journalism, published at the risk of their lives, shone a light on the moral abyss of the totalitarian state. While official media like Pravda indicated that everything was OK, the Samizdat press spoke to the needs and concerns of ordinary people that they were forbidden to acknowledge in public.
The long shadow of the Cold War has led many pundits to believe blindly in the superiority of US press freedoms, encouraging complacency among their public audiences.
Assange’s case must be a wake-up call. With an IMF bailout upcoming, the ratification of Assange’s citizenship and asylum is coming in to review, and forcible expulsion and extradition is likely to come in to force.
DiEM25 believes that censorship has no place in international journalism and that all dissenting opinions should be tolerated and supported in democratic society, be they in support of government policy, or not. We call on all nations to honour UN commitments to abide by human rights as a matter of utmost urgency.
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