Will Assange be extradited to the US?
Negotiations on Julian Assange's extradition have been underway in London since Monday. The US accuses him of endangering people's lives by publishing the names of informants and dissidents on Wikileaks without making them unidentifiable. Assange's defence lawyers say the request is politically motivated. Europe's press sees the case as setting an important precedent.
Punish data theft but not dissemination
It is in the public's interest that media publish controversial information even against the will of the government if necessary, argues The Times:
“No news organisation should publish stolen documents lightly, but without them there is a long list of stories clearly in the public interest that would never have happened, from the MPs' expenses revelations to the Pentagon Papers. You can, and sometimes should, criminalise the ones who steal. Whistleblowers, such as Manning, are sometimes right and sometimes wrong and sometimes simply not in a position to make that call. Criminalising those who report on the whistles blown, though, sets a dangerous precedent. Even if they do it incredibly badly.”
Think carefully about each revelation
Whistleblowers like Julian Assange do sometimes act recklessly, La Croix believes:
“The methods of Wikileaks are debatable. ... Can hundreds of thousands of documents be made public without worrying about the serious consequences this can have for the safety of many people? And without worrying about the benefits that enemies of democracy can derive from it? The profession of whistleblower requires a great sense of responsibility. However, when serious facts are at issue the truth must not be prevented from coming to light.”
It's all about the Democrats' hacked server
For Konstantin Remchukov, editor-in-chief of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the real motor behind the Assange case is the fact that Wikileaks published data from the mail server of the US Democrats before the last presidential election:
“It turned out that the party leadership decided against Bernie Sanders and in favour of Hillary Clinton. This shook democratically oriented Americans so much that many of them didn't cast their votes, and the Democrats didn't get enough to win. And then came the inexorable accusations that Russia had supported Trump's election. ... As a result rumours are circulating that Trump's people proposed a deal to Assange: he was to explain that he didn't get the data from the Democratic server from the Russians and in exchange he would be pardoned and not go to prison. But word has it that Assange refused.”