Two New Jersey residents see World Press Freedom Day as chance to

Chris Hedges Lisa McCormick

Yesterday was the 30th annual World Press Freedom Day, a chance to highlight the crucial role of independent media around the world and address some of the greatest threats to press freedom, including censorship, misinformation, and violence against journalists.

Two New Jersey residents— Chris Hedges and Lisa McCormick —used the occasion to voice their support for a free press and the release of journalist Julian Assange.

Chris Hedges, a prominent journalist and author, has been a vocal advocate for Assange’s release, arguing that his detention and persecution “eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press.”

Hedges has raised questions about the legality of Assange’s detention, asking, “Under what law did Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno capriciously terminate Julian’s rights of asylum as a political refugee? Under what law did Donald Trump criminalize journalism and demand the extradition of Julian, who is not a U.S. citizen and whose news organization is not based in the United States?”

Hedges has also criticized the CIA for its role in the persecution of Assange, arguing that the agency has a long history of carrying out assassinations, coups, torture, and illegal spying.

“The CIA has its own armed units and drone program, death squads and a vast archipelago of global black sites where kidnapped victims are tortured and disappeared,” said Hedges.

Lisa McCormick, a political activist and journalist, has also expressed her support for Assange’s release, arguing that a free press is crucial for democracy.

“The public has a right to know what their government is doing, and the media has a duty to report on it,” said McCormick. “Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have provided a valuable service by exposing government secrets and holding those in power accountable.”

Both Hedges and McCormick have previously called for Assange’s release, arguing that his persecution is a threat to freedom of the press and democracy itself.

In a Press Freedom Day panel discussion, progressive journalists sought to highlight the ongoing persecution of the WikiLeaks founder and the many ways in which journalists are under attack the world over

“The legal lynching of Julian, I fear, marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives,” Hedges warned.

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