Monday, December 20, 2010

Columbia journalism profs: Don't prosecute WikiLeaks

One of the most prominent journalism schools in the United States is asking President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder not to prosecute WikiLeaks because it would set a "bad precedent for reporters."

"We all believe that in publishing diplomatic cables WikiLeaks is engaging in journalistic activity protected by the First Amendment," according to a letter signed by 19 Columbia Journalism School professors.

Holder is an alum of both the undergrad program and Columbia Law School.

"As a historical matter, government overreaction to publication of leaked material in the press has always been more damaging to American democracy than the leaks themselves," the letter says. READ THE LETTER

The letter argues that prosecuting WikiLeaks would result in "chilling" investigative journalism everywhere, and that legal action against the organization would "greatly damage American standing in free-press debates worldwide and would dishearten those journalists looking to this nation for inspiration."