Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Assange British High Court ruling further curtails the freedom of the press

By Murray Hunter - posted Tuesday, 2 April 2024

Last Tuesday, Justices Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson of the British High Court ruled that the US government must provide firm undertakings in writing guaranteeing Assange the rights all US would be granted under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and any US court could not invoke the death sentence, before he could be extradited. The US authorities have three weeks to comply.

The 66 page judgement is only a temporary stay on Assange’s extradition. According to the Judgement, Assange has no grounds to appeal against the fact the CIA had plotted to assassinate him, the spying on Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy, or the political nature of the charges. Assange now has very few grounds to remake any appeal on, unless his charges are discharged. Most importantly, the court confirmed that ‘public interest’ is not grounds for defence of a journalist. 

If the US government doesn’t comply, then Assange will be allowed another appeal against the extradition to the United States, on very limited grounds. Meanwhile, Assange must return to imprisonment at HM Belmarsh Prison, where he has been for the last five years.


Back in 2021, the judge denied the US extradition request on the basis Assange may attempt suicide under US custody. The court didn’t uphold any principles about freedom of speech, and the rights of journalists. The US legal team was able to overturn the decision on appeal. The former Home Secretary in June 2022 signed the extradition order for Assange to the US.

Huge ramifications for freedom of speech and citizens knowing the truth.

The Assange case has serious ramifications for freedom of the press. All journalists should be concerned.

Assange carried out one of the most important investigative journalistic exposes on war crimes in our time. Nobody has ever been charges with the war crimes Assange exposed. This is a scandal in itself.

Consequently, Assange is wanted on charges of espionage for exposing US war crimes to the world.

Julian Assange is not a US citizen. Nor did he ever reside in the US Assange is not a citizen of Britain. His alleged crimes did not happen in Britain. Yet, Assange is being held in prison upon request for expedition to the United States. A third country for an Australian citizen.


This is a precedent that other countries are now following.

This comes close to home for the writer. The writer is being sought by the Royal Malaysian Police on political grounds. No crime has been specified. The writer is not a resident of Malaysia, or a Malaysian citizen. The police have requested a RED Notice be issued by Interpol, but Article 3 of the Interpol Constitution prevents the organization from becoming involved in political issues.

This means that no journalist is safe from the arms of any government which wishes to use the legal system as a weapon of retribution and persecution, even if they have not set foot in the country requesting them.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

5 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Murray Hunter is an associate professor at the University Malaysia Perlis. He blogs at Murray Hunter.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Murray Hunter

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Murray Hunter
Article Tools
Comment 5 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy