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U.S. journalism professors say prosecuting WikiLeaks would set a "dangerous precedent"



Professors from the Columbia School of Journalism have called on U.S. President Barak Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder not to prosecute WikiLeaks, reported CNN.

"While we hold varying opinions of Wikileaks’ methods and decisions, we all believe that in publishing diplomatic cables Wikileaks is engaging in journalistic activity protected by the First Amendment. Any prosecution of Wikileaks’ staff...will set a dangerous precedent for reporters in any publication or medium, potentially chilling investigative journalism and other First Amendment-protected activity," according to the letter to Obama, which was signed by about 20 professors.

Members of Congress have asked Holder to prosecute WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange for espionage, reported the Sacramento Bee, adding that Holder said Assange is under investigation.

If Assange is charged with espionage, courts would have to define who, in this digital age, is a journalist and what constitutes a news organization, explained columnist David Rosen in the Columbia Missourian. Further, he wrote, courts also would have to decide whether the First Amendment is "all-inclusive, or are there exceptions such as the 'clear and present danger?'"

Assange was arrested earlier this month in connection with rape charges in Sweden. Meanwhile, Salon is reporting that Bradley Manning, the Army private suspected of turning classified documents over to WikiLeaks, is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Va., without sheets or a pillow, "under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture."

In related news, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg beat out Assange for TIME magazine's person of the year, despite Assange being readers' top choice.


Otras Noticias Relacionadas
» The New York Times (WikiLeaks Taps Power of the Press)


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