Gleen Garvin in today’s Miami Herald: Julian Assange and Ecuador’s strangled press.
While the movie starring a bleached Benedict Cumberbatch is coming out next month and the real-life Assange is stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the fact is that if he gets political asylum in Ecuador, he’ll most likely end up in jail:
Aside from the Castro brothers, there’s nobody in the Western Hemisphere who’s trying harder to do away with freedom of the press than Assange’s putative champion, Ecuador’s rambunctiously left-wing president Rafael Correa. In June, Correa pushed through a law establishing the crime of “media lynching,” defined as the “dissemination of information” with “the purpose of discrediting” someone. If Richard Nixon had access to a law like that, maybe Woodward and Bernstein would have won a second Pulitzer for their prison diaries.
You’d think even the most hyperactive despot would rest on his laurels for a while after passing a masterpiece like the media-lynching law, but for all the criticism of Correa, nobody has ever attacked his work ethic. Earlier this month, his chief legal advisor asked the legislature to let the government start jailing people for wisecracks on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
If Assange thinks he has it bad now . . .