WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange made a
written statement to the Leveson Inquiry
Julian Assange claimed he has suffered from inaccurate and negative
media coverage "possibly on a scale not seen since the abuse of the
The WikiLeaks founder criticised newspaper and magazine watchdog the
Press Complaints Commission (PCC) for its handling of his complaints.
In a written statement to the Leveson Inquiry, Assange suggested that
inaccurate reporting of his case had an impact on his battle against
extradition to Sweden to face sex crime allegations.
He compared himself to Kate and Gerry McCann, who were the subject of
many negative articles after Portuguese police temporarily made them
"arguidos" or formal suspects in the disappearance of their daughter
Madeleine in May 2007.
He 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."
Assange said the PCC ruled it was "perfectly acceptable" to say he had
been charged with rape when in fact he has only been accused of the
He said in his statement: "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
He added: "Press falsehoods need to be disincentivised or they will
flourish. 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
Assange, an Australian former computer hacker, made headlines around the
world with revelations from secret US military files and diplomatic
cables released by his controversial whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.
He is waiting to hear the outcome of his appeal to the Supreme Court,
the highest court in the land, against being extradited to Sweden.
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