Julian Assange has issued a written statement
to the Leveson Inquiry
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he faced inaccurate and negative
media coverage on a similar scale to that experienced by Gerry and Kate
Mr Assange is wanted by the Swedish authorities for questioning over
alleged sex offences, which he denies.
He made his media claims in a written statement to the Leveson Inquiry.
The McCanns' daughter Madeleine disappeared in May 2007. Portuguese
police investigating the case, briefly named the couple as suspects.
Mr Assange, who remains on conditional bail in the UK, claims the
allegations against him are politically motivated.
The 40-year-old Australian also criticised the Press Complaints
Commission (PCC) in his statement, for its handling of his complaint
into how his case was being reported.
He suggested that inaccurate reporting of his case had an impact on his
fight against extradition to Sweden.
Mr Assange is waiting the outcome of his appeal to the Supreme Court,
the highest court in the UK, against his potential extradition.
Mr Assange wrote: "Those who have been the subject of ongoing,
widespread inaccurate and negative media coverage - as I have, possibly
on a scale not seen since the abuse of the McCanns - know that the harms
created for individuals and small organisations or groups by a failure
to maintain high ethical journalistic standards can be severe,
consequential and almost insurmountable."
Mr Assange said the PCC ruled it was "perfectly acceptable" to say he
had been charged with rape, when he has only been accused of the
He added: "The PCC's clear failure to enforce proper standards of
accuracy and fairness - indeed, its reluctance to act and to adhere to
its own guidelines because of the active case against me - comes at a
time when, due to the number of other of our legal cases already in play
and my grave personal circumstances under house arrest awaiting a
Supreme Court extradition decision, my ability to achieve justice
through libel actions at the moment when they are needed is severely
He also said that "press falsehoods" must be "disincentivised or they
He concluded: "Unfortunately, the Press Complaints Commission does not
provide effective disincentives or corrective remedies for victims.
"Neither, in many cases, do the courts due to the expense of libel
The PCC said Mr Assange's complaints relating to the accuracy of
articles published by the Sun, Daily Mail and Observer newspapers had
been resolved "to the satisfaction of Mr Assange".
"A number of other complaints were found not to raise breaches of the
Editors' Code of Practice," it said. The PCC's resolutions have been
published on its website.
The PCC last month confirmed it would close before Lord Justice Leveson
produced his report into press standards.
The commission will be replaced by a transitional body until a new
system of press regulation is established.