Reporters without Borders Launches Global ‘Collateral Damage’ Campaign
ANNOUNCEMENTS, 23 Oct 2023
Highlights the Danger of the Assange Prosecution to Media and the Public’s Right to Know
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has launched a new global communications campaign as part of its longstanding efforts for the release of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Starting on 18 October, media supporters around the world will run RSF content, in print and online, highlighting the danger posed to all media and to the public’s right to know by the US government’s prosecution of Assange.
18 Oct 2023 – Developed in partnership with the French advertising agency BETC, RSF’s new communications campaign features a depiction of Assange with his facial features made up of the logos of dozens of media organisations from around the world. These media are among those that initially ran stories based on the leaked classified documents published by WikiLeaks in 2010.
“As Julian Assange’s fate hangs in the balance, it is more crucial than ever for media organisations and journalists around the world to speak out in support of the principles at stake. If the US government succeeds in extraditing Assange and prosecuting him under the Espionage Act, anyone who publishes stories based on leaked classified information could be next – and the resulting impact will ultimately be on all of our right to know. It’s time for global solidarity in support of journalism and press freedom, before it’s too late.”
– Rebecca Vincent, RSF’s Director of Campaigns
The campaign tagline “Collateral Damage” refers to the danger that the US government’s prosecution of Assange poses to media around the world, as well as the public’s right to information. It is also a reminder of the “Collateral Murder” video that was among the leaked materials published by WikiLeaks in 2010, exposing an air-to-ground attack by a US military Apache helicopter in a Baghdad suburb, which killed at least a dozen civilians, including two Reuters journalists.
The campaign is supported by Le Monde (France) and The Guardian (UK), who were among the original media partners that worked with WikiLeaks in 2010 on the “Cablegate” documents – a tranche of more than 250,000 leaked diplomatic cables. The campaign has also been supported by other media around the world.
RSF has launched this campaign less than a week before Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s state visit to Washington DC, from 23 to 26 October, where he will be hosted by US President Joe Biden. The two leaders have been urged to use this opportunity to find a diplomatic solution to the Assange case. RSF will also be launching a global tweetstorm targeting President Biden and Prime Minister Albanese the weekend leading up to the state visit, from 20 to 22 October.
The campaign launch also takes place in the run-up to the final stage of legal proceedings in the UK, where a hearing is expected to be called at any point – a date being referred to as “Day X.” This hearing will mark the final stage of domestic proceedings, leaving only the possibility of an application to the European Court of Human Rights if the UK court rejects Assange’s appeal against the extradition order.
The US and UK are respectively ranked 45th and 26th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index.
Reporters sans frontières RSF/Reporters Without Borders RWB is an international non-profit organisation governed by principles of democratic governance. We are neither a trade union nor a representative of media companies. Founded in 1985 in Montpellier by four journalists, RSF is at the forefront of the defence and promotion of freedom of information. Recognised as a public interest organisation in France since 1995, RSF has consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the International Organization of Francophonie (OIF).
Tags: Assange, Journalism, Media, Reporters Without Borders RSF
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