Open Letter in Defence of WikiLeaks’ Right to Publish
We believe that free societies everywhere are best served by journalism that holds governments and corporations to account. We assert that the right to publish is equal to, and the consequence of, the citizen’s right to know. While we believe in personal privacy and accept a need for confidentiality, we hold that disclosure in the public interest is paramount. Liberty, accountability and true democratic choice can only be guaranteed by rigorous scrutiny. We defend the right to publish the truth responsibly without obstruction and persecution by the state. The primary duty of journalists everywhere is to advance the cause of understanding, not to assist governments and powerful interests in suppressing information, and never to defer to ingrained habits of secrecy.
With these principles in mind, we declare our support for the publication of documents released through leaks. They have cast significant light on the behaviour of governments and corporations in the modern world. WikiLeaks has done the world great service. We strenuously denounce the threats of death and criminal prosecution of its director for publishing, together with many organisations throughout the world, information that is clearly in the public interest.
Those in authority routinely oppose such disclosure, as they have done since the struggle to publish the proceedings of the British Parliament over two hundred years ago right through to the release of the Pentagon Papers. We believe no democracy has ever been harmed by an increase in the public’s knowledge and understanding.Therefore, we, the undersigned, declare our unyielding support for the principles of journalistic inquiry and openness, and condemn the forces that threaten both.