The Walkley Awards are the Australian equivalent of the Pulitzers:
that nation's most prestigious award for excellence in journalism. Last
night, the Walkley Foundation awarded its highest distinction -- for "Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism" -- to WikiLeaks, whose leader, Julian Assange, is an Australian citizen. The panel cited the
group's "courageous and controversial commitment to the finest
traditions of journalism: justice through transparency," and hailed it
for having "applied new technology to penetrate the inner workings of
government to reveal an avalanche of inconvenient truths in a global
As I've noted before, WikiLeaks easily produced more newsworthy scoops over the last year than every other media outlet combined, and the Foundation observed: "so many eagerly took advantage of the secret cables to create more scoops in a year than most journalists could imagine in a lifetime." In sum: "by designing and constructing a means to encourage whistleblowers, WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange took a brave, determined and independent stand for freedom of speech and transparency that has empowered people all over the world."
What makes this award so notable is that the United States -- for exactly the same reasons the Foundation cited in honoring WikiLeaks' journalism achievements -- has spent the last year trying to criminalize and destroy the group, with some success. Showing the true colors of America's political class, U.S. politicians like Dianne Feinstein plotted to prosecute WikiLeaks for its journalism and Joe Lieberman thuggishly demanded that private corporations cut off all funds to the group (most of which complied), while others, like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, branded them Enemy Combatants and called for them to be treated like Terrorists. Meanwhile, the Obama administration -- while parading around the world as defenders of Internet freedom and a free press -- harassed its supporters with laptop seizures at airports and Twitter subpoenas. Recall that the Pentagon, all the way back in a top secret 2008 report, declared WikiLeaks -- which also received the 2009 award from Amnesty International for excellence in New Media -- an enemy of the state and plotted how to destroy it.It is telling indeed that the U.S. -- with the backing of its subservient allied governments -- has devoted itself to the destruction of the world's most effective journalistic outlet. It is equally telling that the Obama administration has subjected Bradley Manning -- who is accused of (more accurately: credited with) having exposed to WikiLeaks and then the world endless amounts of illegality and corruption -- to pre-trial detention conditions so harsh and inhumane that its own State Department spokesman vehemently denounced that treatment and ultimately resigned over it.
Read the rest of this article at Salon