Wallraff Prize winner 2022 Julian Assange

On the 19th May 2022, Birgit Wentzien writes on Stella Morris accepting the Günter Wallraff Prize 2022 for Journalism Criticism on behalf of Julian Assange (Google Translation)

Julian Assange has been awarded the Günter Wallraff Prize 2022. His wife Stella Morris accepted the award on May 19, 2022 at the Cologne Forum for Journalism Criticism on behalf of her husband, who is being held in London. In the following we document the laudatory speech by Birgit Wentzien, editor-in-chief of Deutschlandfunk.

Spy, traitor, enemy of the state – freedom fighter, activist, investigative journalist. It depends who you ask. No this can not be.

Julian Assange published secret documents from governments, companies and organizations via the Wikileaks disclosure platform. Files from the US Guantanamo detention center, diplomatic emails and evidence of war crimes in Iraq.

Making grievances public is a core task of journalism. That is exactly what Julian Assange did. He has published secret documents leaked to him by his sources. But he did not collect or steal these documents himself. Should Julian Assange be convicted for this, it would set a global precedent and act as a deterrent to reporters around the world.”Julian Assange affects us all.” For the US Attorney’s Office, Assange is not a journalist. When asked if he would describe Assange as a high-tech terrorist or a whistleblower, Joe Biden, then US Vice President, replied, “I would say he’s a high-tech terrorist.”

What happens to us when we don’t dare anymore to call a spade a spade? Accepting this is self-abandonment – ​​of democracy, freedom of opinion and freedom of the press. Period. In “Truth and Politics”, Hannah Arendt speaks of a double danger to which democratic societies are exposed. One danger is the systematic blurring of the distinction between truth and lies. And the other danger is the temptation to close your eyes and ears to uncomfortable truths.Freedom of expression is a farce when information about the facts is not guaranteed. Freedom of expression begins where the facts are clear. Journalists cannot report on a war that shouldn’t be one. A war is a war. And the other way around and also with Hannah Arendt: “Where lies are lied to on principle and not just occasionally, the one who simply says what is, has already started to act.”

In 2020, Günter Wallraff initiated an appeal for the release of Julian Assange from prison – for medical and constitutional reasons. Günter Wallraff says: “It’s not just about Julian Assange himself, but about defending freedom of expression and freedom of the press. If journalists and whistleblowers have to fear that they will pay for the disclosure of state crimes with imprisonment or their lives, then the fourth estate and with it democracy are in danger.”
The Günter Wallraff Prize 2022 goes to Julian Assange and it is a great honor and pleasure for us that Stella Moris is accepting this prize here in Cologne.
A warm welcome and thanks, and please accept the award for your husband, but also for your own actions and work in this matter that is so important to all of us.

Read original article in Deutschlandfunk