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Assange’s release is a ‘victory’ for journalists around the world

The International Federation of Journalists and the National Union of Journalists welcomed Assange’s release from prison.

Julian Assange released from prison

Julian Assange’s release from prison is a victory for journalists around the world, according to journalist organisations.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) described the development as a “significant victory for media freedom.”

A statement said: “The dropping of 17 of the 18 charges that he faced avoids the criminalisation of the normal journalistic practices of encouraging sources to confidentially share evidence of wrongdoing and criminality.”

IFJ president Dominique Pradalie said: “Julian Assange is free. Victory for the right to inform and to be informed. Victory for journalists around the world.”

IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellanger added: “The attempted prosecution of Julian Assange cast a dark shadow over journalists, particularly those who cover national security issues. Had Assange gone to prison for the rest of his life, any reporter handed a classified document would fear facing a similar fate.”

The IFJ said more than 500 journalists remain in prison around the world.

Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists general secretary, said: “This plea deal is a hopeful beacon for Assange and his family in a case the NUJ has condemned from the start, for its wide-ranging ramifications for journalists exposing truths through their reporting.

“The targeting and persecution of journalists in this way is one that underscores the need to defend journalism and the methods used daily, including when cultivating a source.

“Collectively, we must do all that is necessary to protect press freedom and continue to resist efforts threatening the safety of journalists. As the NUJ continues to monitor developments, I hope this juncture leads to a more concrete end to the nightmare experienced by Assange.”

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