Speech read by Matt, 30-Apr-2021

This is the seventy-fifth week for the Julian Assange Sydney Town Hall Gathering! This coming Monday, the third of May, is World Press Freedom Day! This day was set up thirty years ago to remind governments to honour their professed commitment to press freedom! Well one clear way that our Australian government can honour its commitment to world press freedom is to make a statement in favour of freedom for Julian Assange, the Australian journalist, currently held in a UK prison on behalf of the US to protect its war criminals!

Successive Australian prime ministers have had ten years of opportunity to stand up for their citizen, but we have seen them uniformly falling silent and in line with the act of persecuting Julian Assange. Our prime ministers love to say they act to uphold press freedom but when it comes to standing up for a true, free-press journalist, like Julian Assange, their silence reveals clear hypocrisy. But we must keep demanding that our present prime minister has a change of heart! If enough of us point out the clear discrepancy between what he says about press freedom and what he’s saying about Julian Assange, he will be forced to act to bring Julian home!

World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity for all supporters of a free press, to point out the persecution and torture of Julian Assange which has been carried out because of his journalistic activities, exposing war crimes, torture and high-level corruption! Since press freedom directly affects all of us, our world leaders need to hear the deafening roar of Free Assange!

The 10-year collective persecution & torture of Julian Assange by the US, UK, Sweden & Ecuador, coupled with the wilful inaction of Australia must feature prominently in the statements of western leaders who wish to be taken seriously on press freedom!

Julian Assange is completely innocent and he is entirely ethical. His journalism is clearly in the public interest and his innovative methods of protecting whistle blowers have since been adopted by many large media organisations! He should be free! He exposed war crimes, torture and high-level corruption, which are all extremely illegal and immoral. These crimes are well documented yet the criminals responsible for them are free while Julian is not. We must all make our voices heard in calling for Julian’s freedom!

The vital job of holding governments to account is currently vacant! This job was being done by Julian Assange until the UK and Ecuador engaged in a plan to have him placed in solitary confinement on behalf of the US. If we had a media functioning on behalf of the people, there would have been a massive public outcry and this state of affairs would have been quickly resolved with Julian being granted the freedom he most certainly deserves. Instead, the media have revealed their complicity against Julian and so it is clearly up to us to voice our concerns as loudly and as eloquently as possible!

The longer Julian Assange is kept in conditions of torture the clearer we can see the malevolence that is built into our system.

With increasing evidence of lying and covering up, we must conclude that a major feature of our political system is lying and covering up. This tells us we need more light on the powerful. We need to ensure press freedom and we need Julian Assange released from prison.

Too many people go along with the lies of liars yet it is truth that sets us all free! Speak the truth! We must get Julian Assange out of Belmarsh prison in the UK. He is currently held on remand on behalf of war criminals and corrupt governments!

The theme of this year’s World Freedom Day is “Information as a Public Good”. It is interesting that this theme exactly characterises Julian Assange’s work. If we wish to honour press freedom on this year’s World Press Freedom Day, we must all speak up for the freedom of Julian Assange!

Free Julian Assange!

Free Julian Assange!

Free Julian Assange!

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