Knight Institute Comment on Indictment of Julian Assange

April 11, 2019

London authorities today arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in relation to an extradition warrant on behalf of U.S. authorities.

Jameel Jaffer, Executive Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, issued the following response:

“The indictment and the Justice Department’s press release treat everyday journalistic practices as part of a criminal conspiracy. Whether the government will be able to establish a violation of the hacking statute remains to be seen, but it’s very troubling that the indictment sweeps in activities that are not just lawful but essential to press freedom—activities like cultivating sources, protecting sources’ identities, and communicating with sources securely.”

For more information, contact: Lorraine Kenny, Communications Director, Knight Institute, 646-745-8510, lorraine.kenny@knightcolumbia.org.

About the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University

The Knight First Amendment Institute is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization established by Columbia University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to defend the freedoms of speech and press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. Its aim is to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and effective self-government.