The news hit me hard today when I read that Ecuador had not only shut off Julian Assange’s internet but completely isolated him from visitors. As though this man has not suffered enough as a journalist and publisher, they now are going to hurt him even more. Some are wondering why this matters to them. Who cares about a political prisoner held in an Embassy in London? Well, I am here to tell you why this is significant to you.
As a fellow journalist, I can tell you that journalists and media should be standing on the rooftops screaming about this. If we allow this atrocity to happen, who will be next in line? How long before all our articles are screened, edited and we are imprisoned for sharing truthful, influential news? Gagging Assange is only the first step in removing free press and the truth from being told. What will be next?
Stop and think about it. Silencing any journalist is tyrannical behavior but to do so to one so powerful and influential should terrify us. Allowing this to happen is opening doors worldwide to censoring journalism in other countries. Imagine if the US President shut down the New York Times and wouldn’t allow them to speak out anymore. Worse yet, threatened to imprison them for sharing the news? Imagine if they told MSNBC they were no longer allowed to broadcast or share information? This gag order is no different.
I understand Lenin feels threatened by Assange’s influence on the general public and is afraid it will somehow hurt his relationship with the EU, but he needs to reflect on how this affects the general publics view of what he is doing. What about how Ecuador citizens view this action? He has said in the past he doesn’t care about free speech but I am sure his constituents think otherwise. How will this influence the next election in Ecuador?
A man’s human rights are being violated and have been for over 7 years. He has suffered greatly due to the illegal detainment that the UK refuses to budge on. Ecuador was kind enough to grant asylum to Julian and continues to fight for his freedom, so I truly don’t understand this recent development. It makes the Ecuadorian government look indecisive and maybe even incompetent. It is sad to even have to say that this has happened. Isolating Assange in this way is cruel and inhumane. Isn’t it hard enough on him to not have access to fresh air, sunlight and proper medical care?
Please President Lenin, be gracious and kind and reconnect his internet and end your gag order against this journalist who only speaks the truth.