Roberto Morrione Prize: Assange is a master of journalism, not a public enemy

On the 29th October 2022, John Shipton accepts the Roberto Morrione award in Turin, Italy.

Yesterday in Turin, as part of the award named after Roberto Morrione, an exciting debate took place on the story of Julian Assange. As is well known, the Australian-born journalist risks being extradited from Great Britain to the United States where he will be sentenced to 175 years in prison. A “monster” was built at the table, guilty of having stuck his nose in the arcana and omissions of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the reserved cables of the chancelleries or in the Guantanamo scandal. Whoever accused him – the president of the Federation of the Juliet press always remembers – goes around giving well-paid conferences, whoever has allowed to know the truth is in fact sentenced to death. Moreover, after thirteen years of via crucis, the psychophysical conditions of the founder of WikiLeaks are very worrying. In these days the defense college, of which Assange Stella Moris’s lawyer wife is a part, is awaiting the judgment of the English courts on the possibility of appealing the decisions so far favorable to extradition. Even if the way to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights remains open. The situation was explained well by the journalist and writer Stefania Maurizi, whose volume “The secret power” (the updated edition in English is out) was the point of reference for the counter-narrative. A long guilty silence has broken, while it is becoming clear that Assange is the scapegoat of a real repressive tendency: today he, tomorrow all and all those who do not bend their backs. Gian Giacomo Migone, former president of the Senate Foreign Commission in three legislatures, intervened on the same wavelength, adding a clear criticism to the whole of Sweden, where the judicial parable took place. The central event of the evening was the delivery by the President Carlo Bartoli of the honorary card of the Order of Journalists for his son to Assange’s father John Shipton. It was a moving moment, with the large audience standing to applaud: a small symbolic compensation in the face of a blatant injustice. Bartoli underlined how Assange’s feared defeat would set a very serious precedent for the right to press and freedom of information. Among other things, as reiterated in numerous Italian and European judgments, it is a journalist’s duty to publish public news without hesitation, in order to respond to the citizens’ right to be informed. In conclusion, Mara Filippi Morrione also spoke about it, the soul of the event dedicated to those who taught entire generations to consider journalism not only a profession, but also and above all a civil ethics. Assange was, among other things, appointed Guarantor by the audiovisual archive of the workers’ and democratic movement, as the writer announced. The “NoBabaglio Network” and the “Coordination for Constitutional Democracy” signed up to the initiative. Finally, some of the more than 80 videos of testimony for the freedom of the founder of WikiLeaks collected by the “My voice for Assange” Committee, coordinated by the Sapienza professor Grazia Tuzi absent due to indisposition, were screened. “Articolo21” will continue the campaign with incessant determination, a crucial step in this season of technical tests of authoritarian sovereignties.

Read original article in Italy 24 Press News

More about the Roberto Morrione award ( in Italian )