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The Elements of Journalism

By ProEtContra. From the Flashback forum.

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I've followed this thread with great interest all along and I've waited a long time for Swedish journalists to start doing some sort of investigative journalism. Unfortunately this hasn't happened - instead we've seen brutal smear articles published by above all the columnists on the culture pages and at times published as unattributed op-eds.

Using only the information available to the man on the street, it's not surprising that Sweden today represents a unified hostility towards the person of Assange. A typical meme often heard is 'I like WikiLeaks but Assange - he's a real cad'.

Because the entire affair will soon be seen as a new nadir for Swedish jurisprudence, Swedish politics, and above all the behaviour of the Swedish media, it can seem strange there is not a single real journalist working for any of the major dailies who takes the leaf from his mouth. For the information is out there, available to everyone, and the possibilities for serious analysis are enormous.

I suspect the reason for this can be that for the most part all the information that's been provided in the case has come from individuals who have a direct or indirect interest in smearing Assange. There are strong political and feminist undertones and a cohesive contact network of people who make statements in the media.

This is a fact: the Assange case is the first time anyone's been so treated by Swedish media ever, the way Assange has been treated. As there aren't any prerequisites for spewing out accusations such as 'Assange is a cad' or for expressing opinions without having to cite actual facts - this as opposed to 'real' journalism and being a monitor of power, something that requires integrity, knowledge, and courage - the opinion makers have been free to push their own agendas, whilst the real journalists don't dare comment on an ongoing legal process, and don't dare engage in smearing. And thereof this deafening silence.

But I refuse to believe there are no journalists whatsoever in Sweden who wouldn't want to scrutinise the actual sequence of events in this case. There is no way the skulduggery can be kept hidden.

If the Assange affair is not taken seriously and investigated thoroughly by real journalists, the verdict on the Swedish media organisations will be merciless, for the Swedish people have trusted them.

I should therefore like to remind the Swedish media of the guidelines for journalism - nine points which every news journalist should abide by, taken from The Elements of Journalism.

  1. Journalism's first obligation is to the truth.
  2. Its first loyalty is to citizens.
  3. Its essence is a discipline of verification.
  4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
  5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
  6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
  7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
  8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
  9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

I really hope that some journalist reading this thread will muster the courage to contact and interview the right people and above all to not let the 'opinion makers' completely destroy our confidence in our media.

I'm so sick of it all. Will it never end? At any rate I want to say the other girl's just as much to blame.
 - Anna Ardin

Apparently Swedish laws are unique. If you have a penis you're half a rapist before you even get through customs.
 - Scott Adams

If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade. If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point.
 - Björn Hurtig

I can tell you that the Swedish prosecution still hasn't provided copies of those SMS texts that have been referred to. Those texts are some of the most powerful exculpatory evidence. In Australia prosecutors have a very grave duty to disclose such evidence to courts when seeking the grave exercise of a court's power against an individual. Yet in Sweden in this case, in the first hearings to obtain an arrest warrant, those texts were not submitted to the Swedish court, which is highly improper.
 - James Catlin

The prosecutor could achieve this broadening of the law during Assange's trial so he can be convicted of a crime that didn't exist at the time he allegedly committed it. She would need to. There is no precedent for this. The Swedes are making it up as they go along.
 - James Catlin

Julian Assange will surely learn that considering what WikiLeaks has published, he's got a few enemies in the Pentagon, the CIA, and the White House. Sweden began an investigation into rape which was later dismissed. Assange was even denied residence in Sweden. One can only speculate to what extent the security agencies of the US were involved. And considering the obvious interest of the US to silence WikiLeaks, is it likely Assange will have an accident of the 'Boston brakes' kind in the coming years? Or will he be snared with compromising information of the 'honey trap' kind?
 - 'Drozd' at Flashback 23 October 2010

The truth will out, the truth wins out. Let no journalist ever again speculate into what the protocols say. Six months of digging and the people at Flashback have the actual documents. The sleaze printed by rags such as the Daily Mail, Sweden's Aftonbladet and Expressen, and perhaps above all the toxic Nick Davies of the Guardian, can stand no more. Yet more: these documents are an indictment of the 'news organisations' who've printed deliberate inaccuracies all along or even worse: refused to print anything at all. Nick Davies' account of the protocols was maliciously skewed; both Aftonbladet and Expressen had copies early on and printed nothing. Bloggers had copies but arrogantly kept the information to their Smeagol selves.
 - The Assange Police Protocol: Translator's Note

See Also
Assange Defence Fund
WikiLeaks: Support WikiLeaks
The Police Protocol (Translated)
Rixstep: JA/WL (Assange/WikiLeaks)
Rixstep: Assange/WikiLeaks RSS Feed
Radsoft: Assange/WikiLeaks RSS Feed

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