A Reuters piece on the ongoing Julian Assange Ecuador Asylum Saga, with a focus on the freedom of speech and press transparency issues that make Ecuador an odd place for a whistleblower to seek asylum right now. Not that America or the UK are much better. But it seems that Assange and Correa have bonded over a shared loathing of "big media organizations," as Assange put it, and "false stereotypes" of "courageous journalists and news outlets," as Correa (who has led attacks against media in Ecuador) put it.
Assange has to take what limited options he has at this point, I understand, but Ecuador's president is something of a fair-weather friend to whistleblowers: ask Aliaksandr Barankov, the ex-Belarus financial crimes prober whose amnesty is being revoked after a recent visit to Ecuador by Lukashenko.
Snip from Reuters:
In January 2012, Kremlin-sponsored English-language TV channel Russia Today said it had given Assange his own talk show. Critics of President Vladimir Putin's human rights and freedom of speech record condemned Assange for taking the job. In May, Assange interviewed Correa on the programme. The 25-minute conversation, available on YouTube, offers some insight into the rapport between the president with a tendency to muzzle the media and the campaigner for free information.
"Let's get rid of these false stereotypes depicting wicked governments persecuting saint-like and courageous journalists and news outlets. Often, Julian, it's the other way round," Correa said during the interview.
"President Correa, I agree with your market description of the media. We have seen this again and again, that big media organisations that we have worked with ... have censored our material against our agreement," Assange said in response.
He was referring to his dealings with major Western media including the New York Times and Britain's Guardian, which published material obtained by WikiLeaks in 2010 but later fell out with Assange.
Read more: "Assange saga clouds freedom of speech agenda". (Reuters)