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Support Julian Assange

Dan Anchorman | 21.12.2010 17:27 | Analysis | Repression | Social Struggles

I am a mainstream media journalist and I am increasingly disaffected with my work - I support WikiLeaks because it is helping to reinvigorate real journalism

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is struggling to pay his personal legal costs (
I'm going to send my hard-earned cash to support his campaign ( This is why.
I work for an international news agency and I consider myself to be a journalist. Yet, on a daily, hourly - in fact minute-by-minute basis - I am simply helping to turn someone else's press release into 'news'.
Yes, sometimes an event happens - a boatful of refugees is smashed into matchsticks and mincemeat on the rocks of a remote Australian territory (, for example, and I can see the useful role of an agency with the resources to highlight this issue to the world. But, I can assure you that the bread and butter of a news agency - and many mainstream news groups for that matter - is the re-tweaking of a government / NGO / commercial press release: 'surgical' strikes in Afghanistan (; financial figures for the turbo-charged economy of China (; more 'facts' proving that climate change is a 'myth'.
For every real story there are ten polished journalist turds out there.
There are of course opportunities to check the 'facts', to get an alternative perspective ... but in a 24-hour rolling news environment they who talk first talk loudest. And it is the organisations with substantial resources who prove, that again, 'money talks'.
Do you think I or most of my colleagues signed up to become glorified propagandists? Of course not. We wanted to use our skills to shine the light of journalism into the darkened crevices of the corridors of power - to expose the truth, to re-live the glory moments of the Watergate Affair (
But this is 2010 and the torch, the light, the truth lies squarely in the hands of the web warriors - the Julian Assanges. And that's what compels the jealous remarks that I have to tolerate in my comfortable news-room.
(It's got to be said that the irony of listening to 'professional' journalists slander Assange while turning the latest WikiLeaks' cable into another incendary story is not lost on me).
The reality from my perspective is that as a UK taxpayer I have a right to know what is happening - no, I mean really happening - in Afghanistan and other conflicts which my tax is supporting ( If you like, I am a share-holder in a war and I want to know whether we are making a profit ... or should that be, I want to see the real losses. WikiLeaks has helped to facilitate that.
A colleague recently referred to a letter signed by prominent thinkers in support of Julian Assange and the need for full Australian governmental support for one of its citizens as "some irresponsible Aussie academic harping on" (
In October 2009 a boy was supposedly dragged half way across the US in a giant helium weather balloon ( Satellite trucks and career-hungry hacks went in hot pursuit. Not once did the army of reporters stop and ask 'is this for real?' ... the rolling news agenda allows for no time to stop and think (
WikiLeaks is the reinvention of depth over speed, the revitalisation of journalism over propaganda. I shall willingly give part of the wage I earn from journalism for the cause of journalism.
Viva WikiLeaks!

Dan Anchorman