The controversial WikiLeaks site has won a prestigious journalism award from Australia’s Walkley Foundation, as the site’s leader remains under house arrest.
“This year’s winner has shown a courageous and controversial commitment to the finest traditions of journalism: justice through transparency,” according to a foundation statement announcing the award.
“WikiLeaks applied new technology to penetrate the inner workings of government to reveal an avalanche of inconvenient truths in a global publishing coup,” the foundation adds. “WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange took a brave, determined and independent stand for freedom of speech and transparency that has empowered people all over the world.”
Soon after getting the award, Assange found himself speaking via teleconference to a journalism meeting in Hong Kong where he took the opportunity to criticize the establishment media, U.S. political leaders, the banking system and the Internet, according to The AFP news service.
During the News World Summit, Assange said he will work to prevent the Internet from becoming “a vast surveillance tool for governments and corporations.”
"Of course I'm a goddamn journalist," he said during the summit.
In addition, Assange also claimed Visa and Mastercard “illegally” stopped WikiLeaks funds as part of a “secret deal with the White House,” The AFP said.
"Issues that should be decided in open court are being decided in back rooms in Washington," he was quoted by The AFP.
And he claims the Internet is now the “most significant surveillance machine that we have ever seen.”
"It's not an age of transparency at all ... the amount of secret information is more than ever before," he added.
Assange is now under house arrest in England, and is the focus of a request by Swedish authorities to be extradited on sexual assault allegations.
In a related matter, TechZone360 reported earlier this month that the United States government has not charged Assange, but a federal grand jury was investigating if Assange or WikiLeaks violated any U.S. laws. The U.S. Justice Department is currently investigating WikiLeaks for leaking classified diplomatic and military documents that had far-reaching risks.
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