From The Sydney Morning Herald
Australia's main media players say the federal government's reaction to the release of diplomatic correspondence by the WikiLeaks website is "deeply troubling".
The country's newspaper editors, along with television and radio directors, have written an open letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard in support of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. The letter is supported by the editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald and Sun Herald, Peter Fray, whose newspapers have reported on the secret US embassy cables provided exclusively to Fairfax newspapers.
"The volume of the leaks is unprecedented, yet the leaking and publication of diplomatic correspondence is not new," the letter, initiated by the Walkley Foundation, states.
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"We ... believe the reaction of the US and Australian governments to date has been deeply troubling.
"We will strongly resist any attempts to make the publication of these or similar documents illegal."
The editors and directors say any attempt to shut down WikiLeaks, prosecute those who publish official leaks, or pressure companies to cease working with the whistle-blower website "is a serious threat to democracy which relies on a free and fearless press".
Ms Gillard has declared the actions of WikiLeaks and Mr Assange "illegal".
Attorney-General Robert McClelland has said the initial leaking of classified documents and their subsequent distribution by WikiLeaks are likely to be illegal.
But the media's open letter notes that so far the government "has been able to point to no Australian law that has been breached".
The editors and directors state that WikiLeaks is simply doing what the media has always done - expose official secrets that governments would prefer to keep in the dark.
"WikiLeaks, just four years old, is part of the media and deserves our support."...