By Alison Mason @alimay101234
The Truth Will Set Us Free
As civil society checks the temperature and health of press freedom on the UN’s World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd – it finds nothing to report… there lays a corpse, it’s cold, the body has rolled over and died.
From the fever-pitched days of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reporting on a burglary that brought down President Nixon, the freedom of the press has always been challenged by the powerful. Press freedom stepped over the body of Guillermo Cano, who was assassinated in 1986 for reporting on drug cartels in Columbia, to award the inaugural 1997 UNESCO prize to him posthumously.
At many times in history, press freedom has been in grave jeopardy but was usually resuscitated in time for the craft of journalism to own its legacy proudly and for the public to have confidence in the news. That is, until recent times.
Does a newsroom these days experience the communal exhilaration of uncovering an injustice – a big story – followed by the elation when the printed word is published for all to marvel at? Or is it more inclined to revel in the snide gossip and smear of opinions; cheap and you don’t have to leave home to produce them. The notorious News of the World was put to sleep after it hacked the phone of a murdered child for what it thought would be the reader’s delight. Its spirit was carried on though, in the pages of its Murdoch stablemates, these days now concentrating on the smears of the deep state agenda with its poisonous intelligence tentacles disappearing all the efforts made for society’s good.
But now press freedom stops at the door of a maximum security prison, where inside after a year of solitary confinement, a ground breaking publisher sits; no pen, no paper, no computer, no books. The man inside is being held because he published a trove of classified information revealing to the world abominable crimes against humanity by our governments; illegal wars, depraved war crimes, ecocide, corruption and a collusion with corporations to nullify our laws and sovereignty. Body count in the millions.
This publisher’s model was a new one for the world: open source, not-for-profit, unpartisan, factual, partnerships with traditional media – a sharing kind of model based on truth and transparency.
These classified papers he released in turn created a swoosh of excitement as the presses rolled out revelation after revelation derived from the secret papers. Wads of money rolled back, into the pockets of the mainstream publishers and journalists. Books were published; 16-page inserts in the leading newspapers of the world appeared; documentaries were made; social media platforms abuzz with Google, YouTube, and other search engines generated advertising streams. And society benefited.
Yet these days no truthful mention of the circumstances the publisher now finds himself in is made in the portals of the mainstream media. For an instant our now imprisoned publisher achieved world renown and the admiration of many regular people. But his gift to the world was not appreciated by the most powerful government in the world, who set out to pursue this publisher alone, to set an example to all journalists and the free press. The United States’ mission was revealed: to bankrupt him, his business and all of those connected to it and supporting him; even cries from the powerful to kill him. The mission played out to confine him in arbitrary detention for 10 years, aided and abetted by other powerful states who colluded by perverting justice to render him powerless, without the tools of his trade or the resources to mount a defence.
Little has been heard of this heroic Australian publisher, sequestered in isolation in a prison designed to hold terrorists, murders, rapists and paedophiles. Visits are now banned, access to his lawyers now wholly prevented. The ability to defend himself is being prevented by a chief magistrate overseeing the case of behalf of the powerful state, and aligned to the war machine corporations and intelligence gathering services.
This publisher once said, if wars can be started by lies then peace can be started by truth.
The truth machine does not reside in the mainstream press which abandoned him. It lies in the hearts and minds of those not cowed by the violence and lies of the powerful institutions who are trying to despatch him. Yet the freedom of the press is now inexorably linked to the future of this heroic publisher. The example being played out in the persecution of a truth teller, can be repeated by the precedent is sets upon media outlets and journalists that reveal the dark secrets of the nation state.
Freedom of the press means the freedom of Julian Assange. Only the truth, writ large and without fear or favour, will set us free.
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