On 13th June 2019, UK Home secretary Sajid Javid signed a request for Julian Assange to be extradited to the USA. He has since been ordered by the court to face a full extradition hearing in February next year. If granted, the Wikileaks founder could face 18 indictment charges in the US, including those under the Espionage Act. If found guilty he could receive a potential prison sentence of 175 years.
Now that Assange has been ejected from the Ecuadorian embassy and is serving a 50-week sentence in Belmarsh Prison for bail violations, how does the journalism community view the founder of Wikileaks? Assange claims Wikileaks was never involved in hacking classified information and is “nothing but a publisher”. His QC says the US extradition case “represents an outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights.” For many, there are still unanswered questions.
Does Julian Assange merit our support and solidarity – as a journalist and a defender of the freedom to inform? Or does his personal conduct – in light of allegations of rape and sexual assault, and his documented collaboration with Russian intelligence to disrupt Hillary Clinton’s election campaign – cancel out the debt owed to him by the editors and journalists who used the Wikileaks documents to publish, broadcast and post their many ground-breaking stories and reports?
Join us as the Frontline Club brings together all sides of the debate to discuss the legacy and future of Julian Assange. Each speaker will be cross-examined for 10 minutes by our chair, and face five minutes of questions from the floor. Former editor-in-chief of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger will be joined by columnist and broadcaster David Aaronovitch, chief executive of Index on Censorship Jodie Ginsberg and freelancer Vaughan Smith, with more panellists to be announced.