Editorial: Release Barrett Brown
Monday 16 September 2013, 20:00 UTC
WikiLeaks strongly condemns the prosecution of the investigative journalist Barrett Brown, who as of September 12 had spent a year in pre-trial confinement. Brown’s prosecution is yet another transgression against media freedom in the land of the First Amendment. It chills investigative reporting of national security issues and provides cover for the unholy alliance between government agencies and the security industry.
It should be of grave concern to all reporters that Brown’s most serious charge concerns sharing a link to material already available on the internet — an attempt to crowdsource investigative journalistic work. If this is not vigorously challenged, any journalist whose professional duty calls for linking to source material in his or her story potentially faces criminal prosecution.
Barrett Brown, who has contributed to the Guardian, Vanity Fair and the Huffington Post, faces charges which add up to a maximum 105 years in prison. He is being persecuted for critical reporting on the growing surveillance state, for being an outspoken supporter of WikiLeaks and Chelsea Manning, and for being a reporter who spent periods of time embedded with Anonymous.
This prosecutorial overreach in Brown’s case is similar to that faced by Aaron Swartz and is selective and political in nature. The Obama administration has once again stepped over the red line in disregard of the First Amendment. The prosecution of Brown follows a litany of abuses carried out by the administration, including the prosecution of more whistle-blowers for espionage than under all other US presidents combined, the international abuse of political power in the US attempt to hunt down the whistleblower Edward Snowden, the seizure of the phone records of Associated Press journalists, the targeting of Fox News reporter James Rosen as a "co-conspirator" and the ’whole-of-government’ US criminal investigation into the publishing of WikiLeaks.
Editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, said "All journalists must stand firm and fight against this chilling attack on Barrett Brown. Barrett Brown should be released immediately and the charges against him dropped."
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have supported Barrett Brown, see below.
Committee to Protect Journalists: https://www.cpj.org/internet/2013/0...
Electronic Frontier Foundation: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/...
Reporters Without Borders: http://en.rsf.org/united-states-for...
More information regarding how you can support Barrett Brown and donate to his legal defence can be found at the following links: