China Daily EU bureau chief Chen Weihua publicly shamed the New York Times, Washington Post, and Australian PM Scott Morrison for their lack of support for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he faced extradition to the US.
In the early hours on Monday – the day Assange faced extradition in a trial at London’s Old Bailey court, which was ultimately rejected – Weihua tweeted, “It’s shocking that none from New York Times and Washington Post [are] coming out to support Julian Assange.”
He also took aim at the Prime Minister of Australia, where Assange was born, calling it “shocking” and a “shame” that Morrison has been “dead quiet about the greatest Australian citizen.”
It’s shocking that none from New York Times and Washington Post coming out to support Julian Assange. And also shocking that Australian PM Scott Morrison is dead quiet about the greatest Australian citizen. Shame.
Weihua tweeted and retweeted several posts calling for Assange’s release, and signed a statement by international journalists in support of the Wikileaks founder, putting most Western reporters – who have stayed silent on the matter – to shame.
Free Assange Now
Though the New York Times has defended Assange in the past, it did not publish any article in support of the Wikileaks founder in the lead-up to his extradition trial on Monday. The only pieces the paper has run with are Sunday’s straight explanation piece about the trial – which included the claim that Assange had been “criticized as a publicity seeker with an erratic personality” – and a defense of Assange by documentary director Laura Poitras on December 21.
Back in May 2019, the NYT’s editorial board defended Assange against the US Espionage Act charges, but this piece was also critical, describing him as “no hero.”
Like the NYT, the Washington Post published straightnews articles on Assange’s trial, but no editorial board defense.
In one of its news pieces, the Post opined that the trial “could have profound implications for press freedoms,” but it has a track record for attacking the Wikileaks founder, with headlines that included “Julian Assange is not a free-press hero. And he is long overdue for personal accountability.”
The Australian Prime Minister has repeatedly demonstrated that Assange’s home country would not stick its neck out to support him. Morrison declared in 2019 that he would not receive any “special treatment” from the Australian government, and has rejected pleas from Assange’s family and friends to intervene in the matter.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled against the extradition of Assange to the United States on Monday, citing both the risk to his mental health and the fact that conditions in US prisons breach Britain’s human rights laws.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!