Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has slammed the Leveson Inquiry for being a threat to investigative journalism, reports Katie Stanton.
At a question and answer session last night, said to be his last public appearance before finding out whether he will be extradited to Sweden next week, Julian Assange became quite passionate about the failings of the UK press.
He told Left Foot Forward:
“The UK press’s biggest problem is the reporting of lies… [but] the Leveson Inquiry will crack down on investigative journalism, further preventing the publication of truth.
“The problem is, any journalist with influence gets sucked in by politicians and becomes a political actor. Leveson needs to drop the idea that it’s all about News International.
“Local media is clubbing together to beat the hell out of News International but it’s not just Murdoch, it’s everyone.”
Assange was speaking following the first UK screening of Shadows of Liberty, a documentary he features in about “today’s disintegrating freedoms within the US media” due to connections between big corporations and news outlets.
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The Leveson Inquiry, which has been on-going since November 2011, is currently hearing from a range of celebrities, politicians, sportsmen and public figures in connection with the phone hacking scandal uncovered in 2011. The cost of the inquiry has now reached more than £2 million with monthly costs of around £350,000.
At the Q&A, Assange went on to attack the coalition’s plans to store every email, webpage visit and phone call made in the UK:
“The phone hacking scandal is an insignificant matter compared to what is being proposed by the Queen and David Cameron to intercept online communication. We have all become victims of constant phone hacking scandals by the government.”
Assange will find out on Wednesday whether the Supreme Court has decided to block his extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sex crime allegations.
WikiLeaks, the online portal that controversially published classified documents supplied by whistleblowers and anonymous sources and was once receiving up to £120,000 in donations per day, has suffered financial difficulty within the last year due to a number of payment processors, like PayPal, refusing to be used as a method of donation for the website.