NOAM CHOMSKY on Julian Assanges Trial the Silence of the Press

orwell is credited with having said journalism is printing something that power doesn't want printed and everything else is public relations and right now journalism is on trial free speech is on trial u.s authorities are seeking to extradite julian assange they are charging him under the espionage act his hearing is happening in london's and why is julian assange in prison because he exposed the crimes of empire the crimes of war the crimes of corruption and there is no greater crime to the establishment than exposing the truth for seven years as publisher assange has been persecuted for publishing what power doesn't want published this is meant to put a chill on all journalism as long as julian assange is in prison we are all in prison the truth is in prison and that is why we must help free julian assange there is some confusion uh with the public many think that julian assange is on trial for something to do with russia and the dnc and the 2016 election but he's being prosecuted for the release of a video showing the u.s air attack in iraq that killed dozens of people including two reuters media workers now if they are successful in prosecuting assange won't allow governments around the world from the u.s uk to europe and australia to outlaw any reporting about national security let me just put that to you gnome well julian assange has as you said performed the met the responsibilities of a journalist in the most effective and courageous fashion he has released information to the public that the public should know journalists scholars are making extensive use of the information that he provided something that all of us should know those in power have their own reasons to suppress facts that display to the general public what they are doing the essence of a free democratic society is that the public should know understand and be have critical uh awareness and analysis of what their elected leaders are doing the highest mission of journalists is to fulfill that responsibility that julian assange has done so with with great merit and courage we should stress that this effort to he's been punished brutally for years for having achieved carried out this uh crucial mission of uh journalism at the highest level he is now being threatened with extremely severe punishment by a government which wants to silence the revelations of its actions the what will happen at the trial and afterwards will depend very significantly on public actions and reactions a public uproar over this criminal prosecution is sure to have an impact on how it will eventuate and not only is julian assange fate at risk in this sordid affair but so is that of journalism freedom of speech the democratic rights quite generally we can't stand by and permit this monstrous offense against our highest values to proceed if i could just ask you a little follow up on that why is the world of journalism so silent about the persecution of julian assange you have to ask them they shouldn't be this is uh maybe people are afraid maybe they have other reasons but it's not a great tribute to journalism to see them back away from supporting someone who has lived up to the highest ideals of the profession and is being savagely persecuted for doing so this is a mission that journalists should applaud they should be on the front lines of defending assange and in fact themselves against state power that is out of control yeah it seems to me maybe it's because a small internet outlet like wikileaks accomplishes what it accomplishes poses a great threat to institutions like the new york times and the washington post because they're not accomplishing much