A statement from the CIJ on the arrest of Julian Assange

The CIJ notes with grave concern Julian Assange’s arrest at the Embassy of Ecuador in London today. The organisation that he leads, Wikileaks, was pioneering in its publication of classified media – which is why, in its early years, the CIJ loaned it some of our interns. Wikileaks material from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere has become a unique, invaluable resource for investigative journalists and scholars around the world. Its innovations – from cross-border, collaborative reporting to systems for secure, anonymous leaks – have been borrowed by almost every major news outlet in the world.

Whatever your view of its philosophy of radical transparency, Wikileaks is a publisher. Any charges now brought in connection with that material, or any attempt to extradite Mr Assange to the United States for prosecution under the deeply flawed cudgel of the Espionage Act 1917, is an attack on all of us.

Mr Assange deserves the solidarity of the community of investigative journalists. The world is now watching.