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Peter Hart

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We Support WikiLeaks, and You Should, Too

Posted: 12/15/10 09:53 AM ET

As journalists, activists, artists, scholars and citizens, we condemn the array of threats and attacks on the journalist organization WikiLeaks. After the website's decision, in collaboration with several international media organizations, to publish hundreds of classified State Department diplomatic cables, many pundits, commentators and prominent U.S. politicians have called for harsh actions to be taken to shut down WikiLeaks' operations.

Major corporations like Amazon.com, PayPal, MasterCard and Visa have acted to disrupt the group's ability to publish. U.S. legal authorities and others have repeatedly suggested, without providing any evidence, that WikiLeaks' posting of government secrets is a form of criminal behavior -- or that at the very least, such activity should be made illegal. "To the extent there are gaps in our laws," Attorney General Eric Holder proclaimed, "we will move to close those gaps."

Throughout this episode, journalists and prominent media outlets have largely refrained from defending WikiLeaks' rights to publish material of considerable news value and obvious public interest. It appears that these media organizations are hesitant to stand up for this particular media outlet's free speech rights because they find the supposed political motivations behind WikiLeaks' revelations objectionable.

But the test for one's commitment to freedom of the press is not whether one agrees with what a media outlet publishes or the manner in which it is published. WikiLeaks is certainly not beyond criticism. But the overarching consideration should be the freedom to publish in a democratic society -- including the freedom to publish material that a particular government would prefer be kept secret. When government officials and media outlets declare that attacks on a particular media organization are justified, it sends an unmistakably chilling message about the rights of anyone to publish material that might rattle or offend established powers.

We hereby stand in support of the WikiLeaks media organization, and condemn the attacks on their freedom as an attack on journalistic freedoms for all.

(To add your name to this petition -- and join the likes of Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald and many more -- please go to FAIR's website)

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Daniel Ellsberg
Noam Chomsky
Glenn Greenwald (Salon)
Barbara Ehrenreich
Arundhati Roy (author)
Medea Benjamin (Code Pink)
Tom Morello (musician)
John Nichols (The Nation)
Craig Brown (CommonDreams)
Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report)
DeeDee Halleck (Waves of Change, Deep Dish Network)
Norman Solomon (author, War Made Easy)
Tom Hayden
Fatima Bhutto (author)
Viggo Mortensen (actor)
Don Rojas (Free Speech TV)
Robert McChesney
Edward S. Herman (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)
Sam Husseini
Jeff Cohen (Park Center for Independent Media)
Joel Bleifuss (In These Times)
Maya Schenwar (Truthout)
Greg Ruggiero (City Lights)
Thom Hartmann
Ben Ehrenreich
Robin Andersen (Fordham University)
Anthony Arnove (author, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal)
Robert Naiman (Just Foreign Policy)
Dan Gillmor (Salon)
Michael Albert (Z Magazine)
Kate Murphy (The Nation)
Michelangelo Signorile (Sirius XM)
Lisa Lynch (Concordia University)
Rory O'Connor (Media Is a Plural)
Aaron Swartz
Peter Rothberg (The Nation)
Doug Henwood (Left Business Observer)
Barry Crimmins
Bill Fletcher, Jr (Blackcommentator.com)
Bob Harris (writer)
Jonathan Schwarz (A Tiny Revolution)
Alex Kane
Susan Ohanian
Jamie McClelland (May First/People Link)
Alfredo Lopez (May First/People Link)
Antonia Zerbisias (Toronto Star)
Mark Crispin Miller (NYU)
Jonathan Tasini
Antony Loewenstein

(Organizations/institutions listed for identification purposes only)