Wednesday, 14 July 2010

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: 'Disgrace that so few Western journalists have been killed'

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gives a combative interview to Stephen Moss in the Guardian today and makes clear he doesn't think much of mainstream Western journalists.
Moss quotes Assange: "I was at a journalism conference a few months ago, and there were posters up saying a thousand journalists had been killed since 1944. That's outrageous. How many policemen have been killed since 1944?"
Moss writes:"I misunderstand him, thinking he is bemoaning so many journalistic deaths. His point, though, is the reverse – not how many journalists have been killed in the line of duty, but how few. "Only a thousand!" he says, his voice rising a little when he realises I haven't grasped his point. "How many have died in car accidents since 1944? Probably 40,000. Police officers, who have a serious role in stopping crimes, far more of them die. They take their job seriously." But journalists take their job seriously," I protest. "They don't take their job seriously," he says. "Nearly all of the thousand who've died since 1944 have been stringers in places like Iraq. Very few western journalists have died. I think it's an international disgrace that so few western journalists have been killed in the course of duty, or have been arrested in the course of duty. How many journalists were arrested last year in the United States, a country of 300 million people? How many journalists were arrested in the UK last year?"
But Moss does have the last word by ending his article:"But one thing I would point out. The number of journalists killed since 1944 is closer to 2,000. After all, remember, accuracy, getting the facts straight, presenting the truth unvarnished, is everything in the brave new media world."

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