Columbia journalism profs: Don't prosecute WikiLeaks
December 15th, 2010
10:13 AM ET

Columbia journalism profs: Don't prosecute WikiLeaks

One of the most prominent journalism schools in the United States is asking President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder not to prosecute WikiLeaks because it would set a "bad precedent for reporters."

"We all believe that in publishing diplomatic cables WikiLeaks is engaging in journalistic activity protected by the First Amendment," according to a letter signed by 19 Columbia Journalism School professors.

Holder is an alum of both the undergrad program and Columbia Law School.

"As a historical matter, government overreaction to publication of leaked material in the press has always been more damaging to American democracy than the leaks themselves," the letter says. READ THE LETTER

The letter argues that prosecuting WikiLeaks would result in "chilling" investigative journalism everywhere, and that legal action against the organization would "greatly damage American standing in free-press debates worldwide and would dishearten those journalists looking to this nation for inspiration."

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange is in jail in relation to a sex crime investigation in Sweden - a case that officials say is entirely separate from WikiLeaks or the group's publishing of reams of classified U.S. government and military information. The leak has included diplomatic cables.

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Filed under: Julian Assange • WikiLeaks
soundoff (428 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Ok, the cables about what someone said about someone else is so middle school stuff. Government officials should be old enough to be out of that stage of life. But, the cables about where underwater communication cables are located, health supplies are ware-housed and stuff like that is criminal! Do I agree with what happened, no, I do not. As far as a military member providing this information, that is wrong! I am a retired vet and you take a oath when you enlist. Your word is your honor! If the news networks would not give it so much focus everyday everyones feathers wouldn't be so ruffled. If you think the U.S. gorvernment is bad go live in another country and you will learn other countries sercets are just as bad if not worse! So, to recap. Some of the cables are just petty and should jus be lessoned learned. But others were illegal and should not go unpunished.

    December 15, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Totoro0101

    I don't think the point here is to defend Manning DD980VET, I'm sure not in any case. I'm not a military person but isn't a highly secure installation supposed to compartmentalize it's data? Do you think it's possible/probable that there are more leakers?

    My frustration is that all the efforts of the administration seem to center around getting more power by focusing on what it can't do as of this point, and ignoring what it can and should be doing. This is an alarming thing IMO.

    There is an old saying that hard cases make bad law.

    December 15, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Curt

    I hope those journalism profs are fired. WikiLeaks is not journalism. Journalists should be allowed to break the law.

    December 15, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hello

    Please name one government that operates with complete transparency and that has no classification system to protect information. The very concept is a pipe dream, it has never happened and it will will NEVER happen. kiddies, its time for you to stop blogging and go get some actual world experience so you can see how things actually work. Wikileaks is extremely irresponsible at best. Hippies, keep dreaming of your freedom revolution, you keep blogging and the rest of us will keep America safe and developing.

    December 15, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. glen

    Just one question... where was Bill Clintons right to privacy?

    December 15, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pauly

    @ Blue Person Group, Absolutely the best comment of all. Everyone should read it twice. You nailed it.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
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    December 16, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
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    December 16, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. John D

    “In a society where truth becomes treason, then we're in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it.”

    answer me this: If you witness a guy with guns and grenades, shooting and killing an unarmed man who only has a rock in his hands. what would you do? most of us would call the cops for help. and tell others what we have witnessed. now, picture YOU being persecuted for alerting others to the crime you saw take place...

    December 16, 2010 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. John D

    Its Sad to see how the government, through B S media, have brain washed you all into hating and criticizing Mr. Manning for what he did. he gave his life to show us the corruption that rots our government and trickles down to civilians. we should not sit here criticizing Mr. Manning, instead, we should sit here and criticize our "leaders" for the dirty things that they have covered up. for the BS that they try to feed us while they steal our money and invest it on freaking MAPLE Syrup research.. read up on the truth, do not try to debate with us if you are getting your information from fox news, even cnn is worthless. good day gentlemen

    December 16, 2010 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mike Ruppert

    We sent people to Iraq because our politicians lied to us, if there were cables that were leaked and showed this the world might be a different place now and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Men, women,children and the thousands of US soldiers would still be here. Imagine using the trillions of dollars wasted towards our infrastructure and investing it in America instead of giving it to the few on top.

    Keep in mind governments are in the business of propaganda, there are people who are here posting trying to sway public opinion working for the governments.–harper-government-monitoring-online-chats-about-politics?ref=nf

    December 16, 2010 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
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