Introduction to Volume #1, Issue 5 of The Sparkplug
When do we ever hear about “responsible journalism”? When is morality ever evoked as the guiding tenet of this work?
The reference to “disobedient, moral journalism” at the top of the printed issue is borrowed from John Pilger’s article this past September, “The Stalinist Trial of Julian Assange”. Pilger invokes “the exceptions, the dissidents … who belong to no club” as the vanguard of responsible journalism at a moment where, more than ever, mainstream media is compromised, and journalists who wish to gain or retain stature and a paycheck must keep silent, or follow the media line drawn for them by funders and governments.
This issue looks at both the implication of the trial against Assange on media freedom, and the wider imprint of the War Diaries considering the continued engagement of NATO forces across the Middle East. Joining this issue is fellow Canadian Dimension contributor, Elizabeth Leier, breaking down the essential points of the persecution of Assange to date in “Exposing the Show Trial Against Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange”.
Since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, a generation of us have grown up with this US-led war. A generation of us have witnessed friends, still in their teens, enlisting to fight an imperialist war with an enemy that was raised and armed by the US. Now, this same generation has come of age watching the US government persecute Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange for publishing the truth about the nature of US wars and perpetration of war crimes, also laying bare the complicity of allies like Canada, Australia, and the U.K. It is grotesque that in all this time, the only real punishment that has been given out has been against Assange, as he spends most of his time imprisoned in solitary confinement.
As Assange described in his last interview on September 20, 2018 from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, “Most human wars have come about as a result of lies, and that seems absolutely clear in democracies. Democracies have to be lied into war.” So when mainstream media — which dominates our screens, apps and access — is more concerned with profit than with truth, we must ask the same question Assange then poses: “how many deaths is each journalist responsible for?”
Exposing the show trial against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, by Elizabeth Leier
The spoils of war: a decade after publication, what have we really learned from the War Diaries? by Lital Khaikin
* Additional content in PDF and print editions *