The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma is an international network that brings together media professionals, clinicians, researchers and others with an interest in the impact of media coverage of violence and trauma.

The Australasian arm of the Centre has just issued this statement below, calling on the Australian Government to stick up for Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. (Declaration: Melissa Sweet is part of the Dart network and a signatory to the statement).

Statement from Dart Centre Australasia

Journalists, health professionals, academics and others associated with the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma-Australasia have called upon the Australian Government to provide all appropriate support to Mr Julian Assange. He is entitled to all of the usual protection and rights afforded to Australian citizens and journalists, whether in this country or overseas.

As an organisation concerned with the safety and wellbeing of media professionals, we are concerned by the incitations to violence against Mr Assange. We urge the Australian Government to condemn such comments in strong and unequivocal terms, and to take all possible steps to protect Mr Assange’s safety.

We call upon the Australian Government to stand up for the democratic principles of the presumption of innocence and freedom of information.

The Dart Centre Australasia is part of an international network dedicated to improving media coverage and community understanding of violence and trauma-related issues.

Signed

Cait McMahon

Gary Tippet

Lisa Millar

Kimina Lyall

Jon Stephenson

Matthew Ricketson

Rowan McLean

Melissa Sweet

Assange

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Dart Center in the US, Bruce Shapiro (who will be well known to regular listeners of Radio National’s LateNightLive program) is one of the signatories of this letter sent by 20 faculty members and others from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism to President Obama and Attorney General Holder.

The signatories, who hold varying opinions on Wikileaks’ sources and methods, express concern that “prosecution of Wikileaks’ staff for receiving, possessing or publishing classified materials will set a dangerous precedent for reporters in any publication or medium, potentially chilling investigative journalism and other First Amendment-protected activity”.

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PostScript from Croakey:

Other members of the Dart network who would like to add their signatures to the Australasian Centre’s statement can do so below. Also interested to hear from others in the health sphere…
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Update, 16 Dec: here is a related article from the Columbia Journalism Review re the Walkley Foundation’s letter of support for Assange and Wikileaks

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