WikiLeaks founder: More journalists must die
Queensland born Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is a stereotypical techno geek, expert with computers, experience as a hacker, hostile to authority, a conspiracy theorist and with a clear preference for others putting their lives on the line while he basks in the limelight:
Is WikiLeaks's impact in the four years since it was founded an inherent criticism of conventional journalism? Have we been asleep on the job? "There has been an unconscionable failure to protect sources," he says. "It is those sources who take all the risks. I was at a journalism conference a few months ago, and there were posters up saying a thousand journalists had been killed since 1944. That's outrageous. How many policemen have been killed since 1944?"
I misunderstand him, thinking he is bemoaning so many journalistic deaths. His point, though, is the reverse – not how many journalists have been killed in the line of duty, but how few. "Only a thousand!" he says, his voice rising a little when he realises I haven't grasped his point. "How many have died in car accidents since 1944? Probably 40,000. Police officers, who have a serious role in stopping crimes, far more of them die. They take their job seriously." But journalists take their job seriously," I protest. "They don't take their job seriously," he says. "Nearly all of the thousand who've died since 1944 have been stringers in places like Iraq. Very few western journalists have died. I think it's an international disgrace that so few western journalists have been killed in the course of duty, or have been arrested in the course of duty. How many journalists were arrested last year in the United States, a country of 300 million people? How many journalists were arrested in the UK last year?"
Journalists, he says, let other people take the risks and then take the credit.
Which is exactly what Assange does, lets other take the risks and then takes the credit. By the way, Assange avoids the United States out of fear of being arrested.