Assange freed, but media freedom still in peril

Wikileaks publisher, Julian Assange, has been convicted of espionage for his role in revealing war crimes and other wrongdoing by the US government and its forces in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010.

He’s been released to return to Australia.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of espionage but has been freed after a judge sentenced him to “time served”  – that is, the 62 months he’d served in the UK while fighting extradition to the US. 

This is reportedly the first time there’s been a conviction under US espionage laws.

But this was journalism, very much in the public interest.

It is understandable that Assange wanted to end his ordeal – after spending 5 years in Belmarsh Prison in the UK (in solitary confinement a lot of the time) and 7 years in the Ecuadorian Embassy before that.

Before his case was finalised on an obscure, remote Pacific island, I spoke to Al Jazeera about what this means for media freedom.

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