The Guild Executive Committee has authorized the Local’s co-signing a petition by the activist group Action Network supporting a U.S. House of Representatives resolution calling for the government to end its pursuit of journalist Julian Assange.
Assange is fighting extradition to the United States from Britain, accused by U.S. authorities of espionage in the wake of publication by his WikiLeaks muckraking group of confidential diplomatic cables. He could face a 175-year prison sentence if convicted.
Press-freedom advocates argue that Assange and WikiLeaks are protected by the First Amendment and that the effort to prosecute him could make other journalists and news outlets afraid to expose government misdeeds.
Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) are chief sponsors of House Resolution 1175 calling for the government to drop the case.
Guild leaders, acting on a recommendation from the Legislative and Political Committee, voted unanimously to join the Action Network petition. The matter was brought to the LPC’s attention by Guild Freelancers unit member Steve Zeltzer.
Richard Knee, Legislative and Political Committee Chair