WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defended his decision to walk out on an interview with CNN last week in a one-on-one with Al Jazeera’s the Listening Post today.
According to Assange, the CNN interview, specially arranged with journalist Atika Shubert, had broken agreed ground rules stating it would only cover the stories revealed in the Iraq war logs release about Iraqi citizens. Assange claimed that the journalist later called him to apologise and said she had been instructed to go off script by her bosses.
Assange once more questioned mainstream media’s relationship with WikiLeaks. He spoke about the changing situation between the New York Times, which was involved in the Afghan war logs publication but has recently criticised Assange in its pages, and the whistleblowing site:
My impression is that the Times feels that its forced in that position, that simply is the real politic. In order for the Times to keep its influence as a newspaper… It has to act in a defensive manner and one of the ways to defend yourself is to distance yourself from people… My very strong suspicion is that you discover what happens when you don’t do that, when it appears that you’re criticising the US military… your proprietor suffers as a result, your access to military sources suffers as a results.
Assange said that since the site’s foundation getting people to submit information and mounting a legal defence – the things he thought would be most challenging – had proved relatively easy. Getting coverage of the material that’s leaked away from reports on the organisation itself has been more difficult, he said.