Arresting Julian Assange (The Hindu)
Mains Paper 1 : International
Prelims level : Julian Assange
Mains level : Free speech
- British police on Thursday arrested Wikileaks’ 47-year-old Australian
founder and publisher Julian Assange on the less-than-sensational charge of
- This has triggered, for good reasons, a global debate on the future of
free speech and whistle-blowers.
- The way Assange was arrested inside the Ecuador Embassy in London, right
after the Latin American country revoked the political asylum it had granted
the anarchic activist in 2012 when he was charged with sexual assault,
points to an element of political motivation.
- The US which wants to try Assange under its laws for allegedly assisting
Army private Chelsea Manning to hack into a government computer and steal
classified data and for publishing on WikiLeaks information illegally
accessed from Hillary Clinton’s campaign computers — has swiftly unsealed a
2015 indictment against Assange.
Reason behind his arrest
- WikiLeaks, for all its blemishes, showed the world, its governments and
mighty institutions that their acts cannot always be concealed; digital
technologies empower civilians to break into their vaults and unearth
- This prospect has prompted governments to be more circumspect in their
acts, businessses to be more transparent, and citizens to demand more
accountability from the institutions they deal with.
- Wikileaks, by airing US diplomatic conversations, has unravelled a new
world of geopolitics to the commoner, forcing a level of political
correctness on the diplomatic front.
- His arrest can give vested interests an undue advantage at a time when
civil liberties are under stress in many countries, including the US, China,
Russia and India.
- Governments have come down on Assange, anchoring on disparate charges to
jail him, since they are not able to prove or even classify properly his
alleged major crimes.
- This arrest will, however, send a threatening message to potential
- This does not augur well for democracies and civil society activism.
- Assange has always maintained that he was a journalist (publisher of
WikiLeaks) and hence his actions come under the purview of media freedom.
- His methods are perceived to be in sync with the methods journalists
across the globe would use to expose corruption, misuse of authority and
- To be fair, Assange’s ways of using the wrong ends of digital technology
to obtain classified data has imperilled news gathering by traditional media
and even denied them access to information which was otherwise accessible as
regimes went paranoid after the exposes of the likes of WikiLeaks.
- Still, there is no reason to believe that the actions of WikiLeaks were
against the greater common good.
- Assange’s arrest could imperil fair media practices in major
democracies, including India.
Q.1) Consider the following statements.
1 . It is a UNESCO designated World Heritage site.
2. It was once a Silk Road hub.
3. It was in news due to its recapturing by state arm terror groups.
4. It had been under Roman rule in ancient history.
The above may refer to?
Q.1) Julian Assange’s detention marks