Mapping the world's opinions

<< Previous (2 of 4 Positions) Next >>

His intentions were not in the public's interest

Assange was not a reporter. He was not revealing information for the public's benefit.

<< Previous (2 of 2 Arguments)

Context

To hold Julian Assange up as a bastion of truth fighting the US government for information that serves the public best interests demonstrates a misunderstanding of what Wikileaks is and why he leaked US government documents.

The Argument

The vast majority of the information Wikileaks published under Julian Assange about the US and its allies conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan was of little interest to the public. It showed no illegal conduct and no governmental wrongdoing. Assange leaked the information simply because he could. It was malicious, politically motivated- the Mueller report recently demonstrated the connections between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks- and put the lives of many in the intelligence community at risk.[1] He didn't even treat the sensitive information in the way a journalist would. A journalist does not receive sensitive information then put it up onto the internet in a pdf. They evaluate it and determine if the benefits of publishing the information outweigh the harms to both human life and national security.[2] He didn't redact names to keep sources safe, even after international NGOs urged him to. Given that he did not behave in the interests of the public, nor did he treat the information with the sensitivity it required, Assange should not be afforded the same protections as public interest journalists.

Counter arguments

Assange made several high-profile revelations that would fall under public interest journalism. Among the information revealed through Assange's cooperation with Chelsea Manning was a video showing US soldiers killing civilians from an Apache helicopter in Baghdad and verification that the US carried out secret drone strikes in Yemen.[3] This information falls under the category of public interest journalism and Assange should be afforded the protections of one. He should not be indicted, nor extradited for revealing this information, regardless of how he procured it.

Premises

[P1] Julian Assange was not acting out of the public's interest. [P2] Therefore, the protections afforded to a public interest journalist should not be afforded to him. [P3] Therefore, he should be extradited.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] He was acting in the public's best interest. [Rejecting P2] He should be treated as a public interest journalist and should be afforded the same protections. [Rejecting P3] Therefore, he should not face charges for publishing this information.

References

  1. https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/04/20/why-julian-assange-should-be-extradited
  2. https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/04/julian-assange-is-not-a-journalist/
  3. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/11/julian-assange-six-wikileaks-most-memorable-revelations/3434371002/

Proponents

Do you agree?

Sign up or log in to record your thoughts on this argument

Explore related arguments

This page was last edited on Thursday, 25 Apr 2019 at 18:01 UTC