Talk:Julian Assange

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Afghanistan war logs[edit]

They were originally called Afghanistan War Diaries.

Lede: "accused the Clinton campaign of stoking "a neo-McCarthy hysteria""[edit]

The bolded part of this paragraph should be removed:

  • During the 2016 U.S. Democratic Party presidential primaries, WikiLeaks hosted emails sent or received by candidate Hillary Clinton from her private email server when she was Secretary of State.[18] The U.S. Intelligence Community, as well as a Special Counsel investigation, concluded that the Russian government carried out a hacking campaign as part of broader efforts of interference in the 2016 United States elections.[19] In 2018, twelve Russian intelligence officers, mostly affiliated with the GRU, were indicted on criminal charges by Special Counsel Robert Mueller; the indictment charges the Russians with carrying out the computer hacking and working with WikiLeaks and other organisations to spread the stolen documents.[20] Assange consistently denied any connection to or co-operation with Russia in relation to the leaks, and accused the Clinton campaign of stoking "a neo-McCarthy hysteria".[21][22][23]

First, it's needlessly long (the sentence already notes that Assange rejects connection to Russia). There's no added value of including Assange's specific attacks on various groups and individuals. Second, given that both the US intel community and later the Special Counsel investigation (which indicted GRU officers in 2018) have described connections between WikiLeaks and Russia (while there is no mention of the Clinton campaign saying anything of the sort in the lede), it's a bit weird to include Assange's attacks on the Clinton campaign. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 18:59, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

There's no added value of including Assange's specific attacks on various groups and individuals. Why? The quote was widely reported ([1] [2] [3] [4]), and it explains his reaction to the accusations. In an article about Assange, Assange's views are notable, and suggesting that Assange's views are incorrect (as you seem to do by referencing the Mueller investigation) doesn't make his views less notable. -Thucydides411 (talk) 20:44, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
His denial is already covered. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 20:51, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
What do you mean? -Thucydides411 (talk) 21:05, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
"Assange consistently denied any connection to or co-operation with Russia in relation to the leaks" Snooganssnoogans (talk) 21:09, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
That doesn't address my point. Why is Assange's view that the Clinton campaign was stoking "a neo-McCarthy hysteria" by claiming a connection to Russia not notable? That was part of his response to the accusation of a Russian connection, and it was widely reported. -Thucydides411 (talk) 21:27, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Indeed Assange's opinion of Clinton is very relevant to understanding his mindset when releasing the DNC information. Plenty of sources have reported this. — JFG talk 00:35, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
In the lead? Are we purposely trying to embarrass him? O3000 (talk) 00:37, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
We're just trying to reflect Assange's views. The accusations against him relating to the 2016 elections are explained in great detail in the lede, so his response should be included. If there's anything that should be trimmed, it's the detailed explanation of the accusations. The accusations should be summarizable in one sentence, rather than the 2.5 sentences they currently get. -Thucydides411 (talk) 01:39, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think the "Clinton campaign" is particularly noteworthy.--Jack Upland (talk) 02:18, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
If the lede is going to discuss the accusations against Assange related to the Clinton campaign, which it does, then his response, which includes this statement about the Clinton campaign, should be included as well. -Thucydides411 (talk) 19:49, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
If his response was a defense, I'd agree with you. This isn't a defense -- it's a rather odd insult. OK for the body. O3000 (talk) 19:54, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

──────────────────────────── Of course it's his defense. He thinks that the entire accusation was brought up in order to stoke "a neo-McCarthy hysteria." That's his response to the accusation. You may view that as an "insult," but that's not what it is. It's his view of what Hillary Clinton's objective was in pushing these accusations. This is an article about Julian Assange, and we can't censor his own views out of the lede, just because you don't agree with them or find them odd. -Thucydides411 (talk) 20:56, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

Yes, this is an article about Julian Assange, and I think the whole paragraph is a long and intricate distraction. It also violates the principle that the lead should reflect the body. The second and third sentences are about Russian hacking, and don't mention Assange. The bolded passage is confusing because it implies the Clinton campaign was making the allegations, whereas we have just said it is the US intelligence community and Mueller. This paragraph might not be needed at all, given the new indictments against Assange.--Jack Upland (talk) 21:33, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

Structure[edit]

I suggest a move to a more chronological structure. Currently, we have:

  • "Wikileaks": 2006-2017
  • "U.S. investigations: 2010-2019
  • "Indictment in the United States": 2012-2019, includes arrest in April
  • "Swedish sexual assault allegations": 2010-2019, refers to arrest in April
  • "Political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy": 2012-2019, includes arrest in April under "Presidency of Lenín Moreno" (why have a separate subsection for Moreno?)
  • "Withdrawal of asylum, arrest and conviction" (a subsection of above), includes arrest in April again
  • "2016 U.S. presidential election", which is placed after the above.

I don't think a strict chronological order would be feasible, but a structure that was more chronological would be better. There are at least three different accounts of his arrest. This is unnecessary and confusing. I think it would be difficult for someone who knew nothing about Assange to make sense of this jumble.--Jack Upland (talk) 06:56, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

I have started to work on fixing this.--Jack Upland (talk) 11:33, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

Opinions are divided...[edit]

I have removed this:

Opinions are divided on the question of the arrest of Assange because the United Kingdom, a member of the Council of Europe, is committed to respecting Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which provides the right to freedom of expression and information. This is why several magistrates, politicians and associations consider that the arrest of the whistleblower constitutes an attack on freedom of expression and international law. In effect, a United Kingdom tribunal recognised WikiLeaks as a media organisation.[1]

Practically none of this is in the source. The source does not mention Article 10 or magistrates. It does not call Assange a whistleblower. It does say: "Assange has long said WikiLeaks is a journalistic endeavor protected by freedom of the press laws. In 2017, a U.K. tribunal recognized WikiLeaks as a 'media organization'." But this is Assange's opinion. This text also perpetuates the confusion between Assange's arrest for breaching bail and the US indictment. (As I said before, I've seen no evidence so far that Assange was arrested for extradition to the US.)--Jack Upland (talk) 19:16, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

No evidence, other than the fact that Assange is currently facing extradition proceedings, for an indictment that was revealed immediately after his arrest? -Thucydides411 (talk) 06:30, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
As far as I can see, Assange was arrested for skipping bail and then the US indictment was unsealed. The text I removed is misleading. It would be better to say "extradition" in this context, rather than arrest. The arrest on the face of it was about bail, so it isn't a free speech issue.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:53, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Wolfe, Jan; Layne, Nathan (2019-04-11). "Assange hacking charge limits free speech defense: legal experts". Reuters. Retrieved 2019-04-29.

This is Assange's opinion ? Really ? https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/14/wikileaks-called-media-organization-uk-tribunal-po/ --Rebecca Jones

I was referring to the Reuters article which quotes Assange: "Assange has long said WikiLeaks is a journalistic endeavor protected by freedom of the press laws". That is Assange's opinion, quite obviously. I wasn't questioning the fact that a tribunal made a ruling that Wikileaks was a media organisation. But that does not necessarily mean that Wikileaks is "protected" by the right to freedom of speech. That didn't help News of the World. I don't see anything in that Washington Times article that gives additional support to the text I have removed. The only thing that is supported is the tribunal ruling. We don't have a source at the moment that draws a connection between Article 10 etc and the ruling. The text is just a synthesis of mainly unsourced statements. I'm not saying there aren't facts in there, but we need some citations.--Jack Upland (talk) 11:51, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

This article is very clear about the right to freedom of expression and information. Julian Assange is in United Kingdom who is committed to respecting Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. He is not in United States. Therefore, Wikileaks is not "protected" by the right to freedom of speech but by this Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Because Wikileaks was recognised as a media organisation by a UK tribunal. It is not an opinion but a fact. https://www.humanite.fr/la-convention-europeenne-des-droits-de-lhomme-peut-elle-empecher-lextradition-de-julian-assange-vers --Rebecca Jones

It is not fact that his actions are protected. You do not have consensus for the text that you have edit-warred into the article, which now includes a cite from RT, a Russian government propaganda outlet. Please remove and gain consensus for the text. O3000 (talk) 17:18, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I've removed. Geogene (talk) 17:20, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree with this removal for the reasons stated by Jack and others. The ECHR has nothing to do with hacking or bail-jumping charges, so this is inapt in any case. Neutralitytalk 18:03, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
It's also unclear whether this text is about a possible legal defence or a political argument. Assange doesn't seem particularly "protected" at the moment.--Jack Upland (talk) 19:49, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Rebecca Jones has returned from her edit-warring block and is at it again adding text along the same lines without consensus and with additional text pushing a POV including an WP:NPOV heading and odd edit summaries. Some of this text might be usable with some balance. But, this is going to require consensus. O3000 (talk) 12:07, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

"Criminal" in opening sentence[edit]

The fact that assange is a criminal should be clearly stated in the introduction, as he is not a good example for our children. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:908:181:4640:74E4:F73F:A2E1:8C54 (talk) 06:41, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

Many people disagree with you. Please stop edit warring. It can lead to your account being blocked. HiLo48 (talk) 06:47, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
He was not proven guilty of any serious charges that can define him as primarily a criminal. El_C 06:50, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

Assange has already been found guilty and sentenced, that makes it a fact that he is a criminal. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:908:181:4640:74E4:F73F:A2E1:8C54 (talk) 06:51, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

And it is certainly not his occupation. El_C 06:52, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
This is WP:UNDUE garbage and has no place in paragraph one. GPRamirez5 (talk) 09:16, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it's that simple. Assange pleaded guilty to 25 hacking-related charges in 1996. He is now serving a prison sentence in Britain. He spent the past seven years as a fugitive from justice, avoiding facing court on a charge of rape. I don't know on what basis this is not "serious". This is what he's famous for. Saying that he is a "journalist" is misleading. How many news items has he created in the course of his "career"? What is the "occupation" of someone who has been holed up for seven years in an embassy, dependent on the embassy for food etc. What is the "occupation" of a convict who is facing two possible extradictions? The introduction should make it clear what he is notable for, and should not create a mundane career he has never had.--Jack Upland (talk) 05:42, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Julian Assange is primarily known for WikiLeaks. Of the people who have heard of Julian Assange, I doubt more than a small fraction are even aware of the hacking charges he plead to as a teenager. That episode only comes up in a tiny percentage of the coverage of him, whereas his role in WikiLeaks will reliably be mentioned in nearly every article about him.
We're on pretty solid footing to call Julian Assange a "journalist." He's won a number of journalism awards (including the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism and the GUE/NGL Award for Journalists). WikiLeaks is behind some of the highest-impact stories in the past decade.
The lede should begin by describing what Assange is primarily known for - his role in WikiLeaks, and the major leaks it has enabled. The lede should later deal with other issues that are important to his biography, including his asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, the investigation in Sweden, and the American government's attempt to extradite him to the US. -Thucydides411 (talk) 18:15, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Agree with Thucydides411, this 'criminal' is a POV and moreover doesn't comply with WP:BLP Jtbobwaysf (talk) 19:41, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
What part of the BLP policy are you referring to? You don't write an encyclopedia based on what the general public are aware of. He pleaded guilty to hacking when he was 25, not as a teenager, having been under police investigation since 1991. He was given a three year good behaviour bond. The Swedish charges arose in 2010. He chose to skip bail in 2012. The rest you know. He is now 47, almost 48. For only about 10 years of adult life, 2000-2009, was he not in the clutches of a criminal justice system. Criminal charges have dominated his life. It is wrong not to mention them in the opening sentence. I don't think he should be labelled a "criminal" — that's too broad. But his life should not be misrepresented. With regard to his journalism, Dylan got a Nobel Prize of literature, Kissinger and Obama for peace, and Rutherford for chemistry. Prizes are not a good guide to what someone is. What about "activist"?--Jack Upland (talk) 05:54, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
The idea that "criminal charges have dominated his life" is your personal interpretation. By far, Julian Assange is best known for WikiLeaks. Very few people have heard about the hacking he did as a teenager, and it's a pretty hard sell to say that that episode is in any way comparable in importance in this biography to Assange's activities with WikiLeaks. Assange isn't some random person who somehow received several journalism awards - the publishing he's done through WikiLeaks is what won him those awards. That publishing was behind a number of the highest-impact stories over the past decade. The issue of skipping bail is covered in the lede, when it chronologically comes up. If we're going to define who Julian Assange is in one sentence, however, "he skipped bail and is serving a jail sentence" doesn't make the cut. WikiLeaks certainly does. -Thucydides411 (talk) 06:29, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
So seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy isn't important???--Jack Upland (talk) 08:38, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
When did I ever say that, and what does political asylum have to do with him supposedly being a criminal? -Thucydides411 (talk) 03:46, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
While he did receive asylum, by refusing to leave the embassy he became a criminal, and he is now in jail because of that. The opening sentence should sum up the whole article [5]. Why is he notable? Yes, he is notable because he founded WikiLeaks. He is also notable for being in the Ecuadorian Embassy for seven years. That should be alluded to in the opening sentence, and then the lead can deal with it chronologically. At the moment the opening sentence gives no indication of any of his legal problems over the past decade. And that's wrong.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:48, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Jack, it's clear that you're intent on labeling Assange a criminal in the first sentence, while removing the label "journalist." I think that would be highly POV, and not reflect what he's known for. He's primarily known for WikiLeaks. His legal troubles are handled later in the lede. -Thucydides411 (talk) 15:36, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

Any suggestion that Assange is "criminal" would be a violation of WP:BLPCRIME and I am pretty sure that Assange team can sue Wikipedia for that. Assange is accused of crimes but nothing has been proven by the court.--SharabSalam (talk) 04:57, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree with SharabSalam and others above. If this POV pushing cant stop, then the offending editors that seek to violate wikipedia policy must be banned from the page. Jtbobwaysf (talk) 05:15, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
What are you talking about? He has been convicted of 25 crimes and is currently serving a prison sentence.--Jack Upland (talk) 06:59, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Having thought about it, I think the earlier hacking convictions should be in the lead. They are notable, being featured in works such as Underground (Dreyfus book) and Underground: The Julian Assange Story. Various sources name him as a former hacker:[6][7][8][9]. I don't see how a sentence in the lead would be excessive. It would do a lot to counteract the perception of bias in the article.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:47, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
Jack, you are pushing a POV. Assange is not known for his hacking convictions that occurred 23+ years ago. Can you find sources to show he was notable at that time for hacking? Jtbobwaysf (talk) 04:50, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I provided sources that show that his hacking convictions are considered notable at the present time.--Jack Upland (talk) 05:33, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
No, you found a few articles that mention it. There are many articles about Julian Assange. What percentage cover his teenage hacking, and what percentage cover his activities with WikiLeaks? The answer to that question tells you what weight should be given to each aspect of his life. -Thucydides411 (talk) 14:14, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
That's another false dichotomy. The introduction can mention WikiLeaks and have a sentence about hacking. It is misleading to talk about "teenage hacking". He was 19 when police raided his home. At that time, according to the article, he was married with a child. They were not juvenile crimes. The hacking was the first part of his life that came to public attention, being mentioned in the Dreyfus book. Why do you object to having one sentence in the introduction?--Jack Upland (talk) 07:20, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Journalist?[edit]

I decided to separate this issue out from the above. The Oxford Dictionary (Oxford Living Dictionaries) defines "journalist" as "A person who writes for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or prepares news to be broadcast".[10] This doesn't really fit Assange at all. His writing and broadcasting has been minimal. Merely because he has received prizes for "journalism" doesn't make him a journalist, as discussed above. There are plenty of people who don't believe he is a journalist.[11][12][13][14][15] They might be wrong, but Wikipedia should not endorse a contentious description of Assange in the opening sentence, nor should we use a description that is potentially misleading.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:38, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't think Assange is still the editor of Wikileaks. Wikileaks'"About" page names Assange as "publisher". It is dated 2015, which isn't very helpful. The WikiLeaks Defence Fund says, "Julian was the editor of WikiLeaks until September 2018: six months of his effective incommunicado detention in the Ecuadorian embassy in London then prompted Julian to appoint Kristin Hrafnsson as WikiLeaks editor-in-chief. Julian remains WikiLeaks’ publisher." This page is also out of date. This article confirms the change. I also don't see any evidence he is currently described as the "director", though I accept this was probably true at some point.--Jack Upland (talk) 07:57, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
WikiLeaks prepares newsworthy material for publication. That's the primary function of the organization. It's behind some of the highest-impact news stories of the last decade. There's a case to be made that as a journalistic organization, it's been behind more major stories than most newspapers. There are opinion pieces in which people who are politically opposed to Julian Assange attack him as not being a journalist, but that doesn't change the fact that he founded and served as the editor of what has arguably been one of the most successful journalistic organizations of the past decade, in terms of breaking major stories. I can see the way you're trying to reshape this article, by removing the description "journalist," calling Assange a criminal in the first sentence, and repeating "breaching bail" over and over again throughout the article. It strikes me as a very POV way to frame the article, as if this is being transformed from a biography into an attack article. -Thucydides411 (talk) 16:39, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
I must agree with Thucydides' argument here. Love him or loathe him, Assange has delivered sensational journalism, repeatedly, consistently, over 10+ years, and he never had to retract any of the information he exposed. The whole world is mad at him because he dangerously denounced abuses of power, be it military, financial or political. — JFG talk 20:11, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Absurd comment.[16] The organization that he runs (i.e. the only thing that purportedly makes him worthy of the journalist label) has frequently promoted hoaxes, falsehoods and conspiracy theories.[17] Assange himself played a key role in pushing the Murder of Seth Rich conspiracy (the Mueller report documents how he knowingly did so even though he knew Seth Rich was uninvolved). Snooganssnoogans (talk) 20:40, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
"The whole world is mad at him because he dangerously denounced abuses of power, be it military, financial or political." When he's not leaking Social Security numbers, medical information, credit card numbers, and details of suicide attempts, as well as outing teenage rape victims and homosexuals in anti-LGBT countries. Or when he encourages actors to cast doubt on the veracity of democratic elections (before they even take place) and lies about the Panama Papers which coincidentally happened to contain information that reflected poorly on Russian elites. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 20:54, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
You don't like his methods, fine. That's still journalism. — JFG talk 14:48, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
None of what I list there is "journalism". Snooganssnoogans (talk) 15:00, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
He's absolutely not a journalist. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 20:40, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Snooganssnoogans, I suggest you click the link to the WikiLeaks article and give it a read. I know a lot of people politically dislike Julian Assange, and express the same political hostility towards him that you're expressing here, but WikiLeaks does have quite a record of high-impact journalism, love them out hate them. -Thucydides411 (talk) 22:27, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
We've talked a bit about this word "journalist" over at WPO. At its base is "jour" (day). book of days scribe. I don't know how many days he was exiled in the embassy. We probably couldn't call him a churnalist or a troll, because that wouldn't be right: it would make wikileaks look unnecessarily troll-y (with their trolliful of docs). But as for traditional jobs... publisher, maybe? SashiRolls t · c 22:37, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps whistleblower editor of WikiLeaks would work better. Jed Stuart (talk) 04:37, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
I would be against any politically motivated removal of the label "journalist." There is a big push among some American politicians to label Assange as something other than a journalist, despite the obvious journalistic work of WikiLeaks and Assange's journalism awards, but Wikipedia should not follow on this campaign. -Thucydides411 (talk) 14:12, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
According to WP:Balance we should describe both points of view and not take sides.--Jack Upland (talk) 19:27, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Just looked at Wikileaks for the first time, and I don’t see how the editor and publisher are any more journalists than the founders of The Pirate Bay are musicians. Am I missing something? Reminds me of the editor here who wrote an article about himself claiming he was a NYT journalist because he wrote a letter to the editor. O3000 (talk) 19:46, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I think WikiLeaks contributed to journalism, which is what I think the awards were about. However, no one so far has produced a source saying that Assange was a journalist. As discussed before, some people are making a false dichotomy between journalist and criminal. We shouldn't take part in this. Denying that he is a journalist does not mean asserting that he is guilty of anything. Equally, describing him as a journalist does not establish his innocence.--Jack Upland (talk) 20:18, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
@Objective3000: I don't understand your comment - maybe it was made in jest? Even a cursory glance over the Wikipedia page on WikiLeaks makes their journalistic work obvious. They've published documents relating to corruption in Kenya, American military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, American diplomacy, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Syrian government during the civil war, and much more. Julian Assange has won a number of journalism awards for his work at WikiLeaks. -Thucydides411 (talk) 20:23, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
They're publishing stolen works provided by anons. Kind of like torrent sites. Looks like they don't even remove social security numbers and other private info. RS publish info like this too -- with editorial control. I'm not here to debate their goodness or badness -- just doesn't sound like journalism to me. O3000 (talk) 20:30, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Your above political criticisms of WikiLeaks are noted, but not relevant here. Their journalistic activities - publishing leaked documents they consider in the public interest - are well known, regardless of various political objections to their activities. -Thucydides411 (talk) 21:09, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
The point is: publishing documents doesn't make him a journalist.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:00, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Another problem is that, if you argue he is an journalist because of WikiLeaks, then it is redundant to say he is a journalist and founder of WikiLeaks. Perhaps we could say he is the "founder of the media organisation WikiLeaks". But "journalist and founder" implies two separate roles, perhaps suggesting that he was a journalist before he founded WikiLeaks.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:48, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Thirdly, Thucydides has been citing the awards Assange has received as proof he is a journalist. However, as far as I can see, based on the citations given in this article, none of these awards explicitly named Assange as a journalist, except perhaps the Yoko Ono award. Though the award's webpage calls him a "journalist" (as well as the "principle" (sic) of WikiLeaks), the award itself is for artists. The Sydney Peace Medal recognised Assange’s "leadership, courage and tenacity in journalism and publishing, and pays tribute to his enduring conviction that truth matters and justice depends on it". And the Union of Journalists in Kazakhstan recognised "his oustanding efforts in investigative journalism". But that's as good as it gets. I'm also not sure that the awards are all for Assange. The Economist New Media Award cited Chinese dissidents and others. New York Festivals World's Best TV & Films Silver World Medal was for a Russian TV show. It's an impressive list, but I don't see that it proves that Assange is a journalist.--Jack Upland (talk) 04:41, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
@Jack Upland: By listing the text of the awards that praise Assange for his journalistic work, you've actually made a pretty strong argument for calling him a "journalist." There's no point in quibbling about whether they said, "Assange is a journalist," or whether they recognized "his outstanding efforts in investigative journalism" (which is implicitly calling him a "journalist"). The "Russian TV show" that Assange won an award for was a show in which he interviewed political figures, and the award was in the "Politics" category. What do we normally call someone who interviews politicians on TV? -Thucydides411 (talk) 22:28, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
While it's true that Assange never worked for the press aside from his own WikiLeaks, it's also true that he is notable for feats of investigative journalism within the WikiLeaks philosophy. That includes working closely with several respected newspapers to appropriately handle the disclosures. His interviews of political figures also count as journalism. I understand this was never his formal job, but did he ever have a formal job? Could we perhaps call him an "activist journalist"? — JFG talk 00:38, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

I can find no record of him ever being a journalist, some awards noted in the article appear to be somewhat political in nature and a two finger salute to the USA, I could see him being described as a publisher in that he provided both a platform and financial rewards for notorious and sensational leaks to be published in full, with no preparation or input from him directly, indeed what he released was not vetted by him or anyone in his organisation and the impact of such not considered, I.e. The worst kind of publisher, done for his own ends only and damn the consequences. If you compare his case(s) to many of the historical "leaks" e.g. Watergate, the real journalists in that instance heard some rumours asked lots of questions, found some more sources and then published many articles, slowly applying pressure and got to the truth of the matter, JA verbatim essentially coppied and pasted any and all with no oversight or integrity, writing a few opinion pieces (also very poorly written and based on one leaked document I.e. Not balanced or impartial) does not make him a journalist. If anyone can provide any reputable sources, and provide any evidence that he was considered a journalist before any of these trash one paragraph opinion blogs where he summarised one leak here and there please add these to the article and I will accept, otherwise his description needs to be modified to "publisher, notorious blogger, attention seeker, unthinking ex-hacker who hides behind a lack of understanding about press freedom and norms" or similar. Thoughts 2404:4408:205A:4B00:4D43:12DF:80AE:4C08 (talk) 2404:4408:205A:4B00:4D43:12DF:80AE:4C08 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

No comments, all good. I think the consensus above is remove journalist as highly misleading — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2404:4408:205a:4b00:7d03:41d9:3a4f:b1c3 (talk) 07:38, 26 May 2019 (UTC) 2404:4408:205a:4b00:7d03:41d9:3a4f:b1c3 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

There's no consensus above for removing the label "journalist." Your above comment is simply a (factually inaccurate) political diatribe attacking Julian Assange, which probably violates WP:BLPTALK. -Thucydides411 (talk) 21:43, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

Thucydides411 while I am not arguing his impact and notability, I am arguing 1. He is not a journalist by any measure and there is not any corroboration of this activity apart from his blogs on Wikileaks itself and 2. There appears to be consensus above and it needs to be formalised. Your views are clear and appears to be in the minority. I also agree the post, now three above, uses some terminology that is potentially contentious however sources can be found that would be reliable and back each of those up, as this is his methodology and consequently he has made some fractious relationships within the industry that also contends he is outside the norms and not doing real journalism any favours and in fact harming and negating some of their traditional protections. "Political diatribe" is a bull shit accusation, I have no affiliations or dog in this fight.2404:4408:205A:4B00:FC69:D710:40AE:802E (talk) 03:48, 27 May 2019 (UTC) 2404:4408:205A:4B00:FC69:D710:40AE:802E (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

There are journalists who attack Assange, and journalists who support him. He's a divisive figure. He's also someone who has won multiple awards for journalism, whose work with WikiLeaks was obviously journalistic, and who had a show in which he interviewed political figures (again, something that is typically called "journalism"). Most of the objections you made above, in your first post, were of a political nature, attacking him as being opinionated, saying his work lacked integrity, and so on. Those political judgments of Assange's work are irrelevant to the question of whether or not he is a journalist. -Thucydides411 (talk) 04:20, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

I personally believe he lacks integrity and did not use any judgement in what and when he published any and all of the leaks, as most journalists would, however this is beside the point, a consensus needs to be reached, personal views and defending his actions or his career terminology, needs to put aside and a site consensus needs to be reached and adhered too. End of. 121.99.108.78 (talk) 04:50, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

As this has been discussed on these talk pages since 2010, I have decided to launch a RfC — see below. Please add your best arguments there and perhaps we can get a decision.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:16, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

Income?[edit]

Since we're talking about his occupation, what about his income? In this interview in 2010, which is cited in the Wikileaks article, he says, "I have made money in the Internet. So I have enough money to do that [work full-time without a salary], but also not forever. And the other four guys, in the moment they are also able to self-finance". This, however states he was paid $86,000 in 2010, apparently out of donations. It also mentions book deals. This says that Assange boasted about making a lot of money on bitcoin (for what that's worth). It would be good to clarify this.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:11, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

This states he looked after his son Daniel (born 1989) as a single father for 14 years. This would cover the period of the "Programming" section. Regarding WikiLeaks, the $86,000 mentioned above is probably expenses rather than a salary, bearing in mind that Assange was travelling the world at that time. According to this, Ecuador supported him financially from 2012 until December last year. Now of course Her Majesty is putting him up. So this seems to be an unusual case of someone who is 47 years old, but has never had a paying job or run a profit-making business.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:14, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Assange's belongings[edit]

I recently added the following text to the article:

On 2 May 2019, WikiLeaks' editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson attempted to secure the belongings Assange left at the Ecuadorian embassy. However, he was denied entry by Ecuadorian diplomats.[1] Wikileaks claimed later in May that Assange's belongings such as manuscripts, legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment were to be turned over to US prosecutors by Ecuador. Baltasar Garzon, who is the international legal co-ordinator for the defence of Assange and WikiLeaks said "It is extremely worrying that Ecuador has proceeded with the search and seizure of property, documents, information and other material belonging to the defence of Julian Assange, which Ecuador arbitrarily confiscated, so that these can be handed over to the the agent of political persecution against him, the United States".[2]

It was reverted. I am unclear of the reasons for the reversion so I will quote the text attached to the revert:

“And this has do do with the biography of Julian Assange...how?”

The text that I added was about Assange and was widely covered in the media. We know that Assange has been charged in the US and is fighting extradition. The significance to his cases of the US obtaining the “manuscripts, legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment” left in the embassy seems evident. The quote from Assange’s representative indicates how serious it is being taken by his team. What do other editors think?Burrobert (talk) 13:52, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

If it was widely covered, can you find a better source? RT is not a reliable source, and The Age article sounds like it was written by Wikileaks. O3000 (talk) 14:04, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
RT is a source for the initial two sentences which I put in for context. The attempt by Hrafnsson to obtain Assange's belongings does not seem to be widely reported. RT isn't a proscribed source although I think it is frowned on for controversial matters. However I don't think Hrafnsson's attempt is controversial so don't see a problem using it here. If other editors disagree then omitting that part of the text would be the solution. The Age does quote from Wikileaks and I have attributed the claim to Wikileaks. The same story with the same quotes from Wikileaks appears on MSN [3] and news.com.au[4] and on Yahoo with a different quote from Assange's lawyer in Madrid, Aitor Martinez[5]. A duckduckgo search should bring up others.Burrobert (talk) 14:38, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
These articles talk to a possible future event based on a claimed email that is not authenticated. Wait until something actually happens. WP:RECENTISM. O3000 (talk) 15:05, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
RT is reliable to report Hrafnsson was denied entry to the Ecuadorian embassy to retrieve Assange's belongings. I haven't seen any WP:RSN decision that RT is generally unreliable - perhaps someone could point towards such a thread, if it exists. If we want to be cautious, we can attribute these claims about Assange's belongings in the embassy to Hrafnsson and WikiLeaks. The issue of Assange's belongings has now been widely reported, and it probably deserves a sentence in the article. -Thucydides411 (talk) 17:51, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

References

Director?[edit]

The opening sentence currently names him as a "former director" and the infobox calls him a "director" of WikiLeaks. No source is cited and this is not mentioned in the body of the article. This says: "WikiLeaks’ job titles have proven fluid over the years. Assange has variously described himself as the group’s spokesman, publisher and editor." I'm sure he was named director at one point, and maybe he still is, but should this be mentioned in the opening sentence. Isn't "founder" enough?--Jack Upland (talk) 20:52, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

Following the AP article you link above, we could say something like,
"[...] and the founder of WikiLeaks, variously described as its publisher, spokesman and editor."
How does that sound? -Thucydides411 (talk) 21:14, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
He is often described as a journalist, especially in recent news events (noting this is controversial, but we have plenty of sources to cover it). Jtbobwaysf (talk) 01:48, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
You have never produced these sources, and this is the wrong section to raise this point.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:02, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
With regard to Thucydides411's question, I wouldn't object to something on those lines.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:50, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Hawkins and Assange[edit]

The article refers to Brett Assange whom "Julian regards as his father (choosing Assange as his surname)". I can't access the source. When did Julian choose Assange as his surname? Brett and Christine Hawkins married when Julian was one year old and divorced about 1979, i.e., when he was still a little boy. If his name was changed in the 1970s, it wasn't much of a choice. And if he changed his name later in life, when and why? And if his name was changed when he was very young, why mention it three times in the article? It's not very important.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:07, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Request for Comment - Journalist[edit]

Should this article describe Assange as a journalist in the opening sentence or anywhere else?--Jack Upland (talk) 08:12, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

  • No, we should not call him a journalist because it is misleading, contentious, and not particularly useful. The Oxford Dictionary (Oxford Living Dictionaries) defines "journalist" as "A person who writes for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or prepares news to be broadcast".[18] Assange's writing and broadcasting has been minimal. Merely because he has received awards for "journalism" doesn't make him a journalist. Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize for Literature, Ernest Rutherford for Chemistry, Obama and Henry Kissinger for Peace. And what are these awards for? The Kazakh Journalists' Union said their "award was given to Assange because WikiLeaks had provided plenty of 'interesting' material that was used by journalists in Kazakhstan". In other words, he has contributed to journalism by making leaked documents available, but he has not been a journalist himself. Moreover, there are plenty of people who don't believe he is a journalist.[19][20][21][22][23] They might be wrong, but Wikipedia should not endorse a contentious description of Assange. No one in the recent debate has provided a neutral, reliable source that says Assange is a journalist. Though not decisive, it is worth noting that he has no training as a journalist and that he apparently has never earned his living as a journalist. As a description, it's not particularly useful. If Assange is a journalist because of his work with WikiLeaks, then it is redundant to call him that. We have covered it by calling him founder, editor etc of WikiLeaks. In fact, we are implying that he had a journalistic career (possibly in Australia) before founding WikiLeaks. This is completely misleading. We should simply describe his work with WikiLeaks. Where there is controversy, we should document the controversy and not take sides.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:50, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No, with reference to awards, certain celebrities have interviewed politicians, Ellen, Graham Norton etc. and we do not accept this as a reason to categorise them as journalists, indeed other politicians have interviewed their mentor/leader etc. for tv specials, they like JA was invited to do so and it was not based on journalistic integrity, more on the fact that the interviewer had similar and sympathetic view points. I do not think we can take these awards or the interviews JA participated in, as corroboration and each needs to be viewed independently. None of which that is currently referenced provide that sort of indisputable alignment to categorise JA as a journalist. 2404:4408:205A:4B00:58:CE73:38B1:AD92 (talk) 09:41, 27 May 2019 (UTC) 2404:4408:205A:4B00:58:CE73:38B1:AD92 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Yes. Because the awards for journalism cannot be dismissed. Jack Upland seems to imply that awards are an invalid measure because Kissinger won a peace prize, but Wikipedia acknowledges the historical fact that the Vietnam War ended on Kissinger's watch, and that HK is a diplomat. Likewise, we acknowledge that Bob Dylan is a poet, however unconventional a poet he may be. Assange has been the editor of dozens of breaking stories picked up by venues such as The Guardian and The New York Times. He is one of the most significant journalists active today.GPRamirez5 (talk) 10:47, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No. He runs a website that facilitates the publication of leaked documents. Whatever "journalism" he and the website does, understood here as reporting or analysis of the documents in their possession, is not journalism at all. In fact, whenever the organization covers these documents, their coverage is full of hoaxes, falsehoods and conspiracy theories.[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiLeaks#Promotion_of_conspiracy_theories And the organization does not do proper curation, unlike real journalists when they get leaked documents. Wikileaks instead just publishes whatever it has under its hands, and in doing so, has published Social Security numbers, medical information, credit card numbers, and details of suicide attempts, as well as outing teenage rape victims and homosexuals in anti-LGBT countries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiLeaks#Inadequate_curation_and_violations_of_personal_privacy Snooganssnoogans (talk) 11:01, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes. Note how most of the arguments above for not calling Assange a "journalist" amount to political criticisms of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks (accusing them of publishing too much personal information, of promoting conspiracy theories, attacking Assange's "integrity," etc.). There are obviously a lot of people who dislike Assange politically, but that's no reason not to call him a "journalist." WikiLeaks publishes documents that are obviously of great political interest, and which have been the basis for a large number of major news stories over the past decade-and-a-half. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have worked closely with traditional newspapers to filter, analyze and publish these documents. Julian Assange has won numerous journalism awards for this work. He also hosted a show in which he interviewed prominent politicians, and getting an interview with the elusive Hassan Nasrallah is quite a scoop that many other journalists would relish. What do we call someone who interviews politicians on TV? Normally, we call them a "journalist." If we start removing the label "journalist" from people who are politically controversial, we're going to lose a lot of journalists on Wikipedia. -Thucydides411 (talk) 15:56, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
    Note how your views are still totally plain, you provide no source as requested to back up the assertion that he was ever trained, employed or regarded by the majority or significant minority of the industry as a journalist. His contacts with reputable publications where they have curated the information, while JA was happy to publish everything, his release of personal information is on record and condemned by many. The awards and interview has been addressed here. The only one here that is showing a bias and the only one accusing all others of political motives is yourself, now to break that model, Q. Are you in anyway affiliated to any part of the organisation, the people involved, the methodology or support of the same? I also note on your talk page you are very rarely wrong and defend your point to the utmost, every time, even when the consensus is you have mishandled a situation or are just plain wrong, Q. Are you considering getting into politics,I think the era of the intransigent politician is nearly over. 2404:4408:205A:4B00:343F:34ED:3F92:6E67 (talk) 22:46, 27 May 2019 (UTC) 2404:4408:205A:4B00:343F:34ED:3F92:6E67 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Dear IP2404, please log in or get ready to be dismissed as a sock. — JFG talk 16:48, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Not relevant or accurate, I did not log-out to make any edits, they are not disruptive or certainly not intended that way, all are posted in good faith. 2404:4408:205A:4B00:B95F:7E9F:3D76:59B9 (talk) 01:10, 29 May 2019 (UTC) 2404:4408:205A:4B00:B95F:7E9F:3D76:59B9 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Alex Jones and Mike Cernovich have interviewed more prominent figures than Assange and do far more analysis of the news than Assange does, yet we wouldn't dream of calling them journalists. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 16:40, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
Comparing Julian Assange to Alex Jones sounds pretty political to me - it's not a reasonable comparison by any stretch of the imagination (I think it's a borderline violation of WP:BLPTALK to compare Julian Assange to Alex Jones, who has called the parents of Sandy Hook victims "crisis actors"). Others voting in this RfC should take note of the types of wild comparisons being drawn here and the intensely political nature of the attacks. The question is whether Assange is a journalist, but a number of people here have simply answered by launching into political criticisms of Assange. -Thucydides411 (talk) 17:15, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
It's an entirely appropriate comparison. Assange himself intentionally enflamed Seth Rich conspiracy theories even though he knew they were false (per the Mueller report), leading to intense harassment of Seth Rich's family. And to what extent WikiLeaks does anything approaching analysis or reporting about the contents of its own leaks, it's as full of falsehoods, hoaxes and conspiracy theories as InfoWars's coverage of current events. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 17:27, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
Your characterization of WikiLeaks' leaks is extremely skewed, and largely a political attack. Did WikiLeaks push conspiracy theories by exposing corruption in Kenya? How about by exposing the US strike that killed two journalists in Baghdad? How about by publishing drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership? How about by publishing the Iraq and Afghanistan War logs, or US diplomatic cables? How about by publishing the internal communications of the Syrian government? Your comparison between WikiLeaks and InfoWars is absurd, and it should really tip other editors off that there's something more going on here than just a neutral, detached analysis of whether or not WikiLeaks' publications, Julian Assange's journalism awards, and Julian Assange's interviews of political figures make him a "journalist." -Thucydides411 (talk) 18:12, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No I don't see how he researches or writes to any degree. Probably less so than the editors on this page. He founded a site that posts anonymously stolen material, and given that they don't delete things like social security numbers, doesn't appear to perform much in the way of editorial control. I'm not arguing goodness or badness or making political criticisms as suggested by Thucydides411. Just saying I don't see how he can be called a journalist. O3000 (talk) 16:11, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
Referring to leaked documents as "stolen material" sounds pretty political to me. You're ignoring the journalism awards Assange has won, the obvious journalistic impact of WikiLeaks (just think of all the major stories spawned by their work, about the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, US diplomacy, corruption in Kenya, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Syrian government, and much more) and the interviews Assange has conducted with important political figures (the leader of Hezbollah, the President of Ecuador, political dissidents from Bahrain and Egypt, etc.), and instead saying that you don't approve of their philosophy on not redacting much information. That's not an argument that he's not a journalist. It's an argument that you don't like his journalism. -Thucydides411 (talk) 17:10, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
You have absolutely no idea what my opinion is of Assange or his actions as I haven’t provided even a hint. Your claims that I am being “political” is false. I used the word stolen because it’s accurate, whether or not it was an acceptable act. My comments are purely about whether or not he is a “journalist” because that’s what the RfC is about. Your comments both here and at AE suggest that you call anyone “political” that doesn’t agree with you. O3000 (talk) 18:33, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
As part of your argument that Assange is not a journalist, you said that he "posts anonymously stolen material," which is just a very negative (I would say "political") way of describing something that journalists regularly do, and which is normally referred to with neutral terminology like "publishing leaked documents." -Thucydides411 (talk) 20:05, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
That's simply what he does. As I repeatedly said, I was not evaluating goodness or badness. But, journalists do more than that. Please stop reading political motivations into my edits. You have no idea what my opinions are about the subject or his actions other than I don't think he's a journalist. There is nothing particularly negative about that, as none of us are journalists. O3000 (talk) 20:20, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No. I agree fully with Jack Upland's persuasive analysis. Neutralitytalk 17:43, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No. This discussion is approaching 2,000 words, and the following 18 are the only ones that have any relevance: No one in the recent debate has provided a neutral, reliable source that says Assange is a journalist. It is not for us to decide whether Assange is a journalist, that's for our sources. Feeling generous, I'll switch my !vote when I see three quality sources that unequivocally say that. Emphasis on "quality" and "unequivocally". Please ping me. ―Mandruss  04:50, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Extended discussion about my !vote. Feel free to continue within the collapse. ―Mandruss  00:06, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mandruss: Assange has won a fair number of awards for journalism, some of them awarded to him as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. A few of them:
  1. "Julian Assange wins Martha Gellhorn journalism prize" (The Guardian)
  2. "Julian Assange wins EU journalism award (Sydney Morning Herald)
  3. The Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism (2011) - the Australian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. From the award: "This year’s winner has shown a courageous and controversial commitment to the finest traditions of journalism: justice through transparency."
  4. Announcement of the "The International Piero Passetti Journalism Prize of the National Union of Italian Journalists" (2011): Rough translation from the text of the award: "Wikileaks has never departed from some of the cornerstones of the journalistic profession, understood in a broad sense: verification of the news, protection of sources, public interest in the news."
-Thucydides411 (talk) 15:11, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
So we can say Assange has won journalism awards ("awards for journalism" might be a step too far unless sources have used those words, since they imply that he did journalism), but we can't say he's a journalist unless sources do so. Per WP:SYNTH. He's probably had millions of words written about him in reliable sources, most of them available online and indexed by Google; if he's enough "journalist" for our purposes, it won't be difficult to find three quality sources that have used that word at least once when referring to him. ―Mandruss  15:32, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mandruss: Today I learned that being awarded the top journalism prize in three different countries doesn't make one a journalist. One learns something new every day on Wikipedia. -Thucydides411 (talk) 15:59, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
I wish Wikipedia editing were as black-and-white as many editors make it out to be. I see things differently than you. Deal with it and kindly hold the sarcasm. ―Mandruss  21:15, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mandruss: The Guardian's profile on Julian Assange has this to say: "Australian journalist Julian Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, an online nonprofit that publishes news leaks and classified information from anonymous sources" (emphasis added). -Thucydides411 (talk) 22:02, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Good. I'll accept that. Need two more like that, not from Guardian. That will get you one !vote. ―Mandruss  22:06, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mandruss: Sorry to be daft, but I'd appreciate if you could enlighten us about the difference, in your own words, between a "journalism award" and an "award for journalism". — JFG talk 16:44, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
As I suggested above, I see a subtle difference in connotation. A journalism award could be given to someone who made contributions to journalism without doing journalism or being a journalist. An award for journalism, not so much. But if you see no difference, you wouldn't mind going with my preference, no? It would save a word. ―Mandruss  21:29, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Assange won the Martha Gellhorn prize as the publisher and editor of Wikileaks, not as a journalist. The EU journalism award is for "Journalists, Whistleblowers & Defenders of the Right to Information", not just journalists. The other two awards were to Wikileaks, not Assange. None of these make Assange a journalist. O3000 (talk) 15:37, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Point of fact:
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has won the 2011 Martha Gellhorn prize for journalism.
The annual prize is awarded to a journalist "whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda, or 'official drivel', as Martha Gellhorn called it". - The Guardian
The awards given to WikiLeaks were presented to Assange on behalf of WikiLeaks, the organization he founded and runs. This is really descending into sophistry: the texts of these journalism awards name Julian Assange, the awards were presented to him on behalf of WikiLeaks, and he's the founder and editor of WikiLeaks, yet somehow the awards aren't for his journalism? -Thucydides411 (talk) 15:51, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, the awards were given to Wikileaks for contributions to journalism. That does not make Assange a journalist. O3000 (talk) 16:11, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
That's not what The Guardian says. The Guardian unequivocally says that Assange was awarded the Martha Gellhorn prize for journalism, and that the prize is given to journalists. The other awards were given to Assange on behalf of WikiLeaks, and name him directly in their texts. -Thucydides411 (talk) 16:27, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Also, these awards are not neutral. They are supportive of Assange. Yes, some of his supporters call him a journalist, but we don't have any neutral sources that say this, and opponents seem to say he is not a journalist. Therefore, as I said before, the description is contentious, and we shouldn't use it without attribution.--Jack Upland (talk) 21:28, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No – I've been brought here by this post and haven't been following the play-by-play on how "journalist" was established in the first place. How has it lasted so long if there have been these objections, which I assume have been raised before? Nevertheless, I am skeptical that the term properly applies and especially when it is given precedence before "computer programmer". Assange has not worked in, nor even been trained for, journalism. His most noteworthy "journalism" has been to merely to release material obtained in such an egregiously illegal manner that the original providers seem mostly either to have served time in prison or are facing the possibility of doing so. Dhtwiki (talk) 05:52, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
That's a good question, Dhtwiki. From my cursory search of the archives, this has been debated since 2010, but no points were raised that haven't been raised recently. I suspect there have been a few editors who have been adamant on this issue.--Jack Upland (talk) 06:24, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Yet another political attack on Julian Assange being used as a substitute for an argument about whether or not he is a journalist. Why is it that so many people commenting here feel the need to make these sorts of political attacks ("egregriously illegal," "stolen material," he does less research "than the editors on this page," "hoaxes, falsehoods and conspiracy theories," etc.)? -Thucydides411 (talk) 14:47, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
To interpret it that way helps reveal that Assange really is sort of a political activist and is supported as such. He's not reporting on issues from any conventional political point of view, nor is his reporting is of any real value; he's mostly providing titillation (Hillary Clinton's emails, Angela Merkel's phone calls), when he's not facilitating breaches of security that might cause real harm in the future or getting people into trouble they don't necessarily deserve to have. Journalists do usually stay within the law; although their sources might be disobeying the law but aren't prosecuted when those laws seem merely to protect political incompetence, which is why I used "egregiously" the way I did. Dhtwiki (talk) 21:56, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
These sorts of value judgments don't carry any weight in this discussion. Any vote based on them should be disregarded by the closer. -Thucydides411 (talk) 22:00, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
You don't want to let the closer decide what is irrelevant? Perhaps you would like to close the discussion. Dhtwiki (talk) 00:51, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No. This should not be noted in the lead because he is not generally known as a journalist, but for something else. Anything that relates him to journalism can be noted in the body of page (per sources), without calling him a "journalist". My very best wishes (talk) 17:13, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No per Jack Upland, ignoring whether the term is positive or otherwise, there is no evidence that has ever been employed as a journalist, nor that what he does is regarded as journalism. Founder and editor covers accurately what he does/did with WL. Pincrete (talk) 17:59, 28 May 2019 (UTC) Addendum I've just noticed that this is a two part question (described as a journalist in the lead or anywhere else). It should definitely not be in 'pole position' - as it is now, as though this is what Assange is primarily known for/as. I see no reason why 'the debate' about whether what Assange does is actually journalism, or something else, should not be in the body of the article, although I don't see clearly how that would best be done. Pincrete (talk) 17:42, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No. This is a surprisingly simple matter of verifiability. The editors seeking to include in the article that Assange is a journalist have the burden of establishing that it's supported by reliable sources, and they simply haven't done so. As Jack Upland notes, no one has supplied a single verifiable source saying that Assange is a journalist. Moreover, in this context this is an exceptional claim that requires exceptional sources. Here we have nothing. We have unsubstantiated claims that Assange has won lots of journalism awards. In fact, as far as I can tell the only one listed in the article is the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism ([24]). There is zero evidence that the people who stand behind the Gellhorn Prize have a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. R2 (bleep) 18:59, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Extended discussion about my !vote R2 (bleep) 22:02, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
@Ahrtoodeetoo: Your claims on every count are simply factually incorrect.
"they simply haven't done so": We've pointed to numerous journalism awards, including the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism and the top journalism prizes in Australia and Italy.
"Moreover, in this context this is an exceptional claim that requires exceptional sources": This isn't an exceptional claim. All that's being claimed is that someone who has won numerous awards for journalism, and who founded and ran an extremely well known journalistic entity, WikiLeaks (which has also won numerous journalism awards as an organization), is a journalist.
"We have unsubstantiated claims that Assange has won lots of journalism awards": Read the above threads. These claims are factual, not unsubstantiated.
"In fact, as far as I can tell the only one listed in the article is the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism": Read the above discussion. A whole number of awards have been listed. Even Jack Upland went through the list, and quoted several references to Assange's journalism.
"There is zero evidence that the people who stand behind the Gellhorn Prize have a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy": John Pilger is an extremely well known and regarded journalist and documentary film maker (probably one of the most famous and awarded journalists in the UK/Australia). James Fox is a journalist who worked at the London Times. Jeremy Harding is a contributing editor at the London Review of Books. The "Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism" is the Australian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, and is awarded by an organization set up by the main Australian journalists organization for the express purpose of awarding the prize. Is the official organization that represents Australian journalists reputable, in your view? "The International Piero Passetti Journalism Prize of the National Union of Italian Journalists" is awarded, as the name suggests, by the National Union of Italian Journalists. Perhaps they have a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy?
-Thucydides411 (talk) 19:19, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
The bottom line is that an award is not a reliable source. A reliable source must be a publication. The announcements of these awards do not expressly say that Assange is a journalist, nor are they reliable. Please try to avoid point-for-point rebuttals in the middle of an RfC survey; some view that as bludgeoning. R2 (bleep) 19:44, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm responding point-by-point because many of the statements being made above are simply untrue, and have been shown to be untrue in the above discussions. It is important for editors to read the preceding discussions before voting, but given the number of factual errors in the explanations of the above "No" votes, this does not appear to have been followed. I'm surprised that your reaction to it being shown that your individual points being factually incorrect is not to revise your opinion, but to give a different, "bottom line" explanation.
To the point of whether or not the awards are "reliable," these are well established awards, several of which are given by the national organizations that represent journalists. As to whether or not they call Assange a "journalist," these are journalism awards, and the texts of the awards praise Assange's journalism and the journalism of the organization he founded and led. The bar for calling Assange a "journalist" is being set exceptionally high here, so that apparently winning the most prestigious journalism awards in a number of countries does not qualify him. -Thucydides411 (talk) 20:40, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
The bar is being set no higher here than for any other content in the encyclopedia. We can say X only if reliable sources say X. We can say Assange is a journalist only if reliable sources say Assange is a journalist. It's not rocket science. R2 (bleep) 22:05, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
The bar is being set way higher. The Guardian's explicit statement that he's a journalist apparently isn't enough, nor are numerous journalism awards, including the most prestigious journalism awards in Australia and Italy. What other journalist's "credentials" have been subjected to this level of scrutiny on Wikipedia? This is like claiming that someone who's won Best Actor at the Oscars and a couple of Golden Globe awards isn't an "actor." -Thucydides411 (talk) 22:35, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
That would make sense -- except that he's not a journalist. One of your premises behind your argument that he is a journalist cannot be that he is a journalist. O3000 (talk) 22:48, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
If that person weren't unequivocally called an actor by at least three high quality sources – which would be unlikely in the extreme – I would oppose calling them an actor. ―Mandruss  23:03, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No I'm not surprised this is contentious. In Western countries, journalists are given special privileges and allowed greater freedom than other people, so some people have a stake in framing Assange as a journalist, and I wonder if some of these awards were given to him with this very intention. In any case, I agree that these journalism awards, like Nobel Peace prizes, are often given for political reasons and are not in themselves good sources for describing someone. Assange is not known for his writing nor has he been hired as one by a publisher, so calling him a journalist seems inappropriate. Daask (talk) 21:50, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment: Three data points:
  • Reporters Without Borders writes: [T]he UK should refrain from complying with requests to extradite Assange to the US that would aim at sanctioning his journalistic-like activities. [25]
  • Le Monde writes: Julian Assange s’est toujours présenté comme un journaliste. En 2010, lorsqu’il publie les documents de l’armée et de la diplomatie américaine, la question ne se pose même pas. [26]
  • The NYTimes writes: Though he is not a conventional journalist, much of what Mr. Assange does at WikiLeaks is difficult to distinguish in a legally meaningful way from what traditional news organizations like The Times do. [27]
RS say Assange is a "non-conventional journalist", a "self-declared journalist" and a "journalistic-like journalist" so that's pretty much what en.wp should faithfully represent. ^^ 🌿 SashiRolls t · c 22:03, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Re The New York Times comment, being the head of a traditional or nontraditional news organization makes one a business executive, not a journalist. The head of a hospital is not necessarily a doctor. The head of an educational corporation is not necessarily a teacher. —Anomalocaris (talk) 00:00, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Wow, I read those sources a little differently than you. One says he engages in journalistic-like activities, one says he's not a conventional journalist, and one says he presents himself like a journalist. Somehow you've turned them all around to say he's a journalist. R2 (bleep) 00:28, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm just providing RS since almost all of the foregoing was personal opinions. My own opinion, as I said before the RfC was launched, is that the article should probably just say "publisher", which I see the infobox has been updated to say since my comment.🌿 SashiRolls t · c 10:42, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Legal definitions vary by country and even by state. This is a bio, not a legal document. O3000 (talk) 00:37, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
The articles get into more than the legal definitions. My point is, this precise question is being heavily discussed in the media at this very moment, and we must consider these RS. My other point is that how he is defined in this article is vital and should be discussed in the article itself. Kolya Butternut (talk) 00:52, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
The articles show the issue is contentious, which is why we shouldn't take sides. The articles also fail to demonstrate that there is a legal issue.--Jack Upland (talk) 01:18, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I guess I agree that "this article should not call him a journalist" at this time. My concern is that this RfC may take the side that he is affirmatively not a journalist. I haven't read all the articles yet, but there may be a consensus that he "engages is journalism". Kolya Butternut (talk) 01:33, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think this article should say he is not a journalist either. That would be very POV. If this becomes a major debate (legal or otherwise) we should simply document both sides.--Jack Upland (talk) 01:48, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think anyone has suggested we say he is not a journalist in the article. He's not a nuclear physicist either. O3000 (talk) 01:50, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Jack. Maybe this RfC could be distilled into a proper coverage of the entire debate, and in the Lede, a distillation of that (although I've no idea how that would look). While working on the Edward Snowden article during the heated debate about whether he was a traitor, a hero, or what?, it was decided that we simply add all prominent viewpoints. The Lede (until a few months ago) read: A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero, a whistleblower, a fugitive from justice, a dissident, a traitor, and a patriot. Maybe something along those lines would work for Assange and his disputed designation. petrarchan47คุ 19:31, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree that if this becomes a major debate we should document both sides in the article. I expect this will become a major debate. Kolya Butternut (talk) 01:57, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but he has probably studied nuclear physics!--Jack Upland (talk) 08:13, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No per Jack Upland and O3000. I note that the Arianna Huffington article is in some journalist categories, but does not explicitly call its subject a journalist. I note that the Matt Drudge article is in category:American alternative journalists, but does not explicitly call its subject a journalist. I realize that what Wikipedia should do for Julian Assange does not depend on what Wikipedia already does in other articles, but I would raise an eyebrow like Spock if Julian Assange is described as a journalist and Arianna Huffington is not. —Anomalocaris (talk) 00:30, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes and No Wikileaks is a publisher. Assange isn't famous for writing, but for publishing leaked material. It appears his title cannot be boiled down to one single word. We should cover the fact that it is controversial, and mention any prominent viewpoints, including his own. petrarchan47คุ 06:35, 29 May 2019 (UTC) Changed !vote petrarchan47คุ 22:11, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes. President Trump is not a WP:Reliable source; see Veracity of Donald Trump. The reliable sources overwhelmingly refer to him as a journalist, and this whole article describes his career in journalism. Trump calls the mainstream media "the enemy of the people", and that article's section on the Soviet Union authoritarianism says: "The term returned to Russian public discourse in the late 2000s with a number of nationalist and pro-government politicians (most notably Ramzan Kadyrov) calling for restoration of the Soviet approach to the 'enemies of the people' defined as all non-system opposition." And look at Media freedom in Russia#Judicial prosecution of journalists and media outlets – "Prosecutors in Russia have the custom of charging individuals – including journalists, bloggers, and whistle-blowers – with trumped-up criminal offenses including defamation, extremism, and other common criminal charges, as part of an effort to deter and limit their activities." (emphasis mine; pun intended) Every single "no" !voter engages in (Stalinist) WP:Original research. Many of the all-time top journalists have gained prominence through conspiracy theories. And the fringe idea that falsehoods make someone a non-journalist, is also what Trump does when he calls the "fake news media" the "enemy of the people". (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) wumbolo ^^^ 14:43, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
No idea what any of this has to do with anything. But, claiming that every single no !voter is engaging in Stalinism is stepping light-years over the line. O3000 (talk) 14:56, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No . Just because the so-called "enemies of the people" call him a journalist doesn't mean I have to agree. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:06, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Question. Is John Demers, head of the National Security dept. at the Justice Dept. an RS? Out cherry-picking I saw that he said: “Some say that Assange is a journalist and that he should be immune from prosecution for these actions.” This, quoted in the NY Times article mentioned above, would seem to suggest that some say he is a journalist and that it may therefore be a POV worth conserving. Pointy question aside, my reason for !voting is that I don't think we should declare once and for all definitively whether the guy is a journalist (whatever that means) or not, because it's obvious this is a point of contention and may (have) evolve(d) over time. It might be more pertinent to ask the question of whether he is or was or will be most defined by being a political prisoner. 🌿 SashiRolls t · c 22:57, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it is clear that some say he is a journalist. I agree that this is a point of contention and we should be neutral. However, I think we should avoid second-guessing future court cases. I agree that he is known for his legal difficulties, but that goes beyond this RfC.--Jack Upland (talk) 04:37, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes. Just another data-point for Assange's BLP (in 2015 he called himself a "wanted journalist" in Le Monde, in an open letter to the French president): Je suis un journaliste poursuivi et menacé de mort par les autorités états-uniennes du fait de mes activités professionnelles. Le Monde. Copiable link: [1]

References

  1. ^ Julian Assange (3 July 2015). "Julian Assange : "En m'accueillant, la France accomplirait un geste humanitaire"". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 30 May 2019.
🌿 SashiRolls t · c 09:50, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, although there should be some mention of dissenting views. At this point, I see many reliable sources provided by Thucydides411 calling Assange a journalist, a few RS that equivocate ("self-declared journalist", "non-conventional journalist"), and several opinion pieces (in generally reliable publications) that argue that Assange should not be considered a journalist. It would thus appear to me that the balance of coverage in RS leans toward calling him a journalist, although if people want to provide non-opinion RS (ping me) stating that Assange is not a journalist I would reconsider this vote. (Summoned by bot) signed, Rosguill talk 05:19, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong Yes, there can really be very little debate about this anymore. However you feel about him personally, he is a journalist.Walkinxyz (talk) 07:31, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
OK, SashiRolls, but you didn't answer the question.--Jack Upland (talk) 11:20, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
Is this you calling me a sock puppet, Jack Upland? Walkinxyz (talk) 02:01, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
Walkinxyz, do you have a connection to SashiRolls? Kolya Butternut (talk) 02:32, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
Let me answer the inquisitive but/or nut: until Jack's mistake and your question about contributors rather than content, there was no connection I am aware of, save for the editing of a common page. Now, because of Jack's mistake and your leading question, a connection between contributors has been made in the minds of everyone who reads the page. Walkinxyz, you should know that, unlike Kolya, I am not allowed to make speculations concerning motivation, so in responding to their comments on contributors rather than content, I find myself "disarmed" (sort of like after being drawn & quartered). It's always better to write from in media res, to be "disarming" rather than "disarmed", so I'll just say that I hope these harassed groans will help M. Butternut to write better copy for this entry... 🌿 SashiRolls t · c 07:01, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
My comment was addressed to Sashi, responding to Sashi's comment on 30 May. I'm sorry if anyone misinterpreted it.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:36, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
I noticed this and chose to let it go, since @JFG: had pretty convincingly written that there was no use continuing to further pile into one another in an inconclusive RfC... the arguments on content had already been made & remade, there was no sense left in belaboring the point and drawing attention to any misdirected garden paths the casual TP reader might be led down.🌿 SashiRolls t · c 07:01, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment, can we remember that what is being asked is not only "has Assange done some journalism", nor "has Assange been called a journalist", rather, the question is "is Assange primarily known as a journalist?", which is what putting the term in the opening phrase of this article implies. Hitchcock acts in all his own films, George Osborne writes editorials for the newspaper he is now editor of - I don't see 'actor' or 'journalist' in the opening sentence of either of their articles, because it isn't what they are primarily known for. Pincrete (talk) 16:58, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    That is not the question asked. The RfC asks: "Should this article describe Assange as a journalist?", it does not ask whether he is "primarily known" as a journalist. — JFG talk 05:25, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
It is not the explicit question in the RfC. It is the implication of 'is an Australian journalist' in the opening sentence of the current article. No one here would dream of writing 'B Obama is an American author' simply because BO had written some books along the way. Pincrete (talk) 07:47, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
Fair point. Nevertheless, numerous RS consider that Assange's journalism work is a key characteristic of his person. I would support a longer intro sentence, for example saying he is an Australian "computer programmer, journalist and political activist". — JFG talk 14:21, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
  • No He is better described as an advocate as mentioned in the Julian Assange#Writings section. Sure he wrote some stuff that got published, but advocates do that as well as people in all kinds of professions. He writes primarily on information transparency and market libertarianism or himself, and does not write about current news or information beyond his personal opinion. Can we put advocate in the lead? In the article body it could be mention that some call him a journalist as long as it is attributed, not in Wikipedia's voice and perhaps balanced with attributed arguments against considering him a journalist to convey that it is contentious to consider him a journalist. Richard-of-Earth (talk) 18:37, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
  • No Reliable sources seem to present both sides of the issue. However, from what I have seen, they strongly lean towards him not being a journalist. He is not primarily notable for being a journalist, he is notable for founding WikiLeaks. It would be acceptable to include a statement that The Guardian has described him as a journalist, but it should not be in Wikipedia's voice. StudiesWorld (talk) 09:55, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
Not a single reliable source has been presented so far that says Julian Assange is not a journalist. In the discussion below, I have listed over 20 news articles that call him a "journalist," and it would be easy to keep going and list more. The only sources we have that say he is not a journalist are opinion pieces, which do not count as reliable sources. I don't think I've ever seen this sort of discussion on Wikipedia before, in which the reliable sources are overwhelmingly on one side, but opinion pieces are being used to overrule the reliable sources. -Thucydides411 (talk) 22:45, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
  • No and alternative Given the very extensive debate going on above and below and the need for some sort of answer-- I think it may be best to go off of what WikiLeaks calls him. WikiLeaks has repeatedly called him their "publisher" on Twitter and in statements[1] and I think we can all agree on that title, especially given Anomalocaris's good point/comparison to Arianna Huffington. We can also look to Pincrete's great point that we have to think about what Assange is primarily known for in this context. With that in mind, we should go towards "publisher." Tfkalk (talk) 18:10, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
That was tried before the RfC.🌿 SashiRolls t · c 00:29, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes: In an amicus brief back in 2008, "with one voice[,] most of the US fourth estate argued" against taking wikileaks.org offline. source (EFF ACLU + the American Society of Newspaper Editors, The Associated Press, the Citizen Media Law Project, The E.W. Scripps Company, the Gannett Company, The Hearst Corporation, the Los Angeles Times, the National Newspaper Association, the Newspaper Association of America, The Radio-Television News Directors Association, and The Society of Professional Journalists.) So it seems clear, again, that the word journalist & journalism should not be prohibited in this article, if most of the 4th estate rallied to its defense. On the article, I tried the straightforward and utterly undramatic solution suggested above by Petrarchan, but it was reverted as being too simple. Oh well. Just to be clear, here, my vote is in response to the original question:
"Should this article describe Assange as a journalist in the opening sentence or anywhere else?"
For me the question of whether it should be in the lede is secondary to whether the word should be in the article anywere else. The answer to the latter question is a pretty obvious yes. 🌿 SashiRolls t · c 00:29, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
Extended discussion about my !vote. 🌿 SashiRolls t · c 06:35, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
A press coalition files a brief in support of WikiLeaks' first amendment rights, so that tells us that Julian Assange is a journalist? I would say...no. The "word" journalist can be in the article, but it cannot be used to describe Assange in Wikivoice. From the Dynadot brief:

"WikiLeaks provides a forum for dissidents and whistleblowers across the globe to post documents, but the Dynadot injunction imposes a prior restraint that drastically curtails access to Wikileaks from the Internet based on a limited number of postings challenged by Plaintiffs. The Dynadot injunction therefore violates the bedrock principle that an injunction cannot enjoin all communication by a publisher or other speaker."

I don't know if publisher refers to WikiLeaks specifically, but...anyway, is Assange's name even mentioned once? Kolya Butternut (talk) 01:57, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
Kolya Butternut (talk) 11:21, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
Kolya, I've hatted this based on the model provided above. My decision is not based exclusively on the fact that nearly all of the press organs allied with Wikileaks against a Swiss bank over first amendment freedoms. As I've said, the word "journalist" is virtually meaningless today: one can get journalistic speech with the right politics published in all sorts of venues (Daily Mail, Mirror, Beast, Medium, Twitter, etc.). Though I still personally agree with Jack's initial argument about "publisher" being a better overal designation though fr.wiki's use of 'founder-editor-spokesperson' of Wikileaks in the lede is also interesting, I've noticed that RS use the term extensively. Putting aside my personal opinion, I've based my vote on what RS say. Someone should invent and start using the term nuitalist or, more likely, nocturnalist in RS to maximize bestest practices concerning yin/yang equilibrium. ^_^ 07:00, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment: In the 2008 amicus brief, a press coalition showed support of WikiLeaks' first amendment rights; that does not tell us that Julian Assange is a journalist. The "word" journalist can be in the article, but it cannot be used to describe Assange in Wikivoice. From the Dynadot brief:

    "WikiLeaks provides a forum for dissidents and whistleblowers across the globe to post documents, but the Dynadot injunction imposes a prior restraint that drastically curtails access to Wikileaks from the Internet based on a limited number of postings challenged by Plaintiffs. The Dynadot injunction therefore violates the bedrock principle that an injunction cannot enjoin all communication by a publisher or other speaker."

    I don't know if publisher refers to WikiLeaks specifically, but...anyway, is Assange's name even mentioned once in the brief? Kolya Butternut (talk) 11:21, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes we should describe Assange as a journalist, among other things, given that dozens of the highest quality sources listed here refer to him as one. Yes Assange is also described as other things (publisher, etc) and no, we shouldn't expect that he will be called a journalist every time he's referenced in the press. Despite practically illegible commentary from far-right rags [29], Assange and is still regularly called a journalist in the press, and he and Wikileaks have been given prestigious awards for their journalistic work. Glenn Greenwald recently described some of that work as "the core of investigative journalism" [30]. It is against this status quo that US officials are arguing in their indictment [31]. -Darouet (talk) 03:42, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Just follow WP:WIKIVOICE, specifically "Avoid stating opinions as facts." It is obvious from this discussion that it is a matter of controversy whether or not he is a journalist. We should describe the controversy. In particular, no, Wikipedia should not say in its own voice that he is a journalist, and additionally, no, Wikipedia should not say in his own voice that he is not a journalist. But yes, Wikipedia should say that it is debated how to describe him, and in particular whether or not he is a journalist, and should describe that controversy.Adoring nanny (talk) 22:57, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
@Coretheapple: Could you give an example of a reliable source that says that Julian Assange is not a journalist? There are over 20 reliable sources listed below that call him a journalist, but so far, nobody in this thread has produced a single reliable source that states the opposite. -Thucydides411 (talk) 14:21, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Thucydides411, could you give an example of a non-opinion reliable source that says that Julian Assange "is a journalist"? There are scores of reliable sources that do not call him a journalist, but so far, nobody in this thread has produced a single reliable source that states that he "is a journalist". We do have 20 or so sources that introduce him as "Julian Assange, an Australian journalist...." But surprisingly we can't find any sources that introduce him as "Julian Assange, an Australian non-journalist...." Kolya Butternut (talk) 20:19, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Kolya Butternut I've read your post several times now, but I must confess that I don't understand what you're trying to say. In one sentence, you ask for reliable sources that call him a journalist, but in the next sentence, you admit that there are over 20 reliable sources (listed below) that call him a journalist. Wikipedia policy is incredibly straightforward here: numerous high-quality reliable sources state factually that Assange is a journalist, and none contradict that statement, so it is a verifiable fact that Assange is a journalist. -Thucydides411 (talk) 06:21, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
If you don't understand what I am trying to say that proves that you don't understand this entire argument. Kolya Butternut (talk) 06:58, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
I think I'm coming to understand the argument perfectly well. The argument is over whether or not we will follow Wikipedia policy on WP:VERIFIABILITY, or whether we'll give in to the personal animosity many feel towards the subject of this BLP. -Thucydides411 (talk) 14:52, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Clearly you do not understand as you are now simply attacking other editors. O3000 (talk) 14:57, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
The utter incoherence of the arguments being presented to oppose calling Assange a "journalist" is a strong indication that something other than simple adherence to Wikipedia policy is at work here. Look at the above post by Kolya Butternut, for example. First, it demands reliable sources. But then it turns around and admits that numerous reliable sources have been presented. How is one supposed to even respond to such a post? I would "understand" the argument if it were coherent, but it just looks like a jumbled attempt to rationalize ignoring numerous reliable sources.
Originally, the argument against calling Assange a "journalist" was the supposed lack of reliable sources that label him as such. Mandruss, for example, offered to vote "yes" if three reliable sources could be provided. I provided seven. Then, Mandruss specified that only "highest-quality" sources would suffice. So I went and brought the total to over 20 reliable sources, including articles from The Guardian, The Independent, CNN, The Times (of London), Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Der Spiegel, The Telegraph, and more. Mandruss dropped out of the conversation at that point, without changing their vote. However, since then, two strains of arguments have appeared:
  1. Arguments that flatly ignore the existence of the reliable sources, and claim that they don't exist.
  2. Arguments about why we should ignore the reliable sources, typically along the lines of, "It doesn't matter if numerous reliable sources state that Assange is a journalist, because other reliable sources don't make any statement on the matter."
Wikipedia policy is very clear on what verifiability means, and the sourcing for calling Assange a "journalist" has clearly crossed the threshold required by WP:V by a wide margin. We rarely demand 20+ reliable sources for a statement of fact, especially when there are no reliable sources that dispute it. The nature of the arguments being made, despite the clear dictates of WP:V, is an indication that policy is not the driving factor here. You can look above at the litany of political statements in the early opposing statements and see what's obviously going on. -Thucydides411 (talk) 17:21, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Keep trying.  Kolya Butternut (talk) 18:23, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

A few reliable sources that list Assange as a journalist:

  • "Australian journalist Julian Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, an online nonprofit that publishes news leaks and classified information from anonymous sources" -The Guardian ("profile: Julian Assange")
  • "Award-winning Australian journalist Julian Assange, who infamously hacked into US state defence, US Navy and NASA pages, founded news leaks website WikiLeaks in 2006."[2]
  • "Der Journalist Julian Assange gilt als maßgeblicher Mitgründer der Enthüllungsplattform Wikileaks."[3]
  • "Der Journalist Julian Assange gilt als maßgeblicher Mitgründer der Enthüllungsplattform Wikileaks, die Einblick in unethisches Verhalten von Regierungen und Unternehmen verspricht."[4]
  • "But his [John Pilger's] big message was the deep shame he feels about successive Australian governments allowing fellow countryman and journalist Julian Assange to languish for years in a foreign embassy."[5]
  • "The founder of the WikiLeaks website, Australian journalist Julian Assange, has been honoured with an award for the best in investigative journalism for 2014 by the Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan."[6]
  • "WRITING in The New Yorker, Raffi Khatchadourian profiles Australian-born political activist and journalist Julian Assange, one of the founders of WikiLeaks."[7]

These are all from the news sections (i.e., not opinion) of reputable news agencies. Pinging Mandruss. -Thucydides411 (talk) 02:30, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

Please add URLs and we'll go from there. ―Mandruss  02:59, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
"Is Assange a Journalist? It Depends What Year You Ask", Bloomberg. Kolya Butternut (talk) 03:08, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I not moving the goalposts, honest. Not all reliable sources are equal in quality—it's not a binary "reliable" or "not reliable" thing—and my willingness to accept a mere three is conditioned on your willingness to limit yourself to the absolute highest quality sources. That's why I emphasized the word "quality", which I assumed would be understood to mean something more than our word "reliable". While The Australian, for example, probably falls under our reliable sources umbrella, it's a big umbrella and I don't think anybody could claim that they are comparable in journalistic quality to the likes of, say, NYT.
I ask the question: If he's a journalist, why haven't New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS/NPR, Associated Press, or Reuters ever called him a journalist just once during the 12 years since WikiLeaks made him the subject of massive controversy and news coverage? Why does one have to look so deep to find that word associated with him? My answer: Because there is extremely little agreement that he's a journalist. That means we don't call him one in wiki voice, which is what this RfC proposes. ―Mandruss  03:22, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
while my views are also quite plain and I obviously agree with Mandruss, the semantics is such and in many ways this rfc is a pointless discussion, the two sides will never agree and the "for" side will never back down, the "against" side can ask for good quality sources for years and will never get them, the lead paragraph, should not included any terminology that is not the main steam view, I.e. How he is perceived by the bulk or even a significant minority of the industry, not how he or others would like to describe him, his journalistic-like actions, awards etc should however be covered somewhere in the article, lastly I note that in other article in the Gaurdian he is not described as a journalist and that the link to the profile is a dead folder, e.g. "Profile" is not searchable, does not contain Donald trump, barrack Obama etc. which leads me to the assumption rightly or wrongly this profile was enacted for other reasons and in no way reflects a balanced and sourced proof that meets the standards of good journalism itself, oops another can-of-worms? 2404:4408:205A:4B00:ADBB:4C2:DE0B:42BD (talk) 03:50, 29 May 2019 (UTC) 2404:4408:205A:4B00:ADBB:4C2:DE0B:42BD (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Link to one such article https://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/oct/09/julian-assange-benedict-cumberbatch-letter. 2404:4408:205A:4B00:ADBB:4C2:DE0B:42BD (talk) 03:53, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

@Mandruss: I'm disappointed in you. I gave you six (not three) high-quality news articles that explicitly call Assange a journalist, plus The Guardian's official profile on Assange. Now, you're demanding URLs. There are no URLs, but you can use LexisNexis or a library to go read all these sources. I've done you the favor of quoting from them.

The new goalpost seems to be whether a certain select list of your preferred sources have called Assange a "journalist." The Guardian, the Independent, the BBC and the DPA are reliable sources, but somehow not on your list. I honestly thought you might change your vote if I met your criteria, but I guess not. -Thucydides411 (talk) 09:43, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

I was afraid that would be your reaction. Sorry to disappoint you (add me to your Dishonest Editors List if you must, if I'm not already on it), and I'll wear some of the blame for not making the goalposts clearer in the beginning. But mine is only one !vote, and it's highly unlikely to be a swing !vote the way things are going. ―Mandruss  10:06, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mandruss: I'm still confused about your reasoning. You say that you don't consider The Australian to be among the highest-quality sources. Fair enough, although that's already a different goalpost than the one you initially set (you said "quality sources," which would certainly include The Australian). But what about The Independent, the BBC and the DPA? Surely those count among the "highest-quality sources." With those (plus The Guardian), the number of "highest-quality" sources I've provided is at least four. As a pure news source, I'd actually rate the DPA above the New York Times, as the level of political opinion injected into its news articles tends to be much lower, and it has far less of a discernible political bias. Are you arguing that these sources do not count among the "highest quality" sources, or are you just abandoning your initial statement about potentially changing your vote? -Thucydides411 (talk) 22:51, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
It is clear that some people call Assange a journalist, some people say he is not a journalist, and the majority describe him some other way. Thucydides has obviously had to go to great lengths to dredge up those sources. Examples seem rare. (The Guardian profile is not very reliable. We don't know who wrote it. It could have been copied from Wikipedia.) Therefore, calling Assange a journalist is contentious, as I said before.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:18, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
@Jack Upland: It was actually very easy to find these sources. All I had to do was enter in a specific phrase, "journalist Julian Assange," into LexisNexis. I actually left out many news articles that have similar wordings. For example, a whole number of major German newspapers called Julian Assange a "Journalist" when they covered the suspension of the Swedish investigation in May 2017, but I only included two of them above. Different phrases would have returned different sets of articles, and there are different ways to say that someone is a journalist. I just picked the most obvious phrase that came to mind. It's worth noting that The Guardian has called Assange a "journalist" in at least one news article we've discussed: [32]. Funnily enough, the reason why The Guardian has an official profile of Assange seems to be because he's written a few articles for them: [33] [34]. -Thucydides411 (talk) 22:39, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

More reliable sources calling Assange a "journalist":

  • Assange, an Australian journalist depicted in media reports as a former computer hacker, described WikiLeaks in a January interview as run by five or so full-time people supported by hundreds of volunteers.[8]
  • He also claimed that the Australian journalist had treated embassy staff in a "very bad" way - and that he even installed cameras to spy on them and broke into his phone.[9].
  • Julian Assange (39) is an Australian journalist, publisher and internet activist. He is best known as the spokesperson and editor-in-chief for the WikiLeaks whistleblower website.[10]
  • Its spokesman and founder Julian Assange, an Australian journalist and former hacker, began working with others to create a resource that would make it possible for anonymous contributors to upload confidential information revealing "corruption of governance".[11]
  • Sweden's Supreme Court on Tuesday demanded explanations from Swedish prosecutors on further investigation into the case of Julian Assange, an Australian journalist and the founder of the Wikileaks website.[12]
  • The government in Quito has been providing Assange with political asylum since August 2012, but the relationship has recently soured and the Ecuadorian president would now like to see the Australian journalist leave the embassy sooner rather than later.[13]
  • The 45-year-old computer programmer has been holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for four years to avoid arrest. "I want people to know the truth about how abusive this process has been," said the Australian journalist.[14]
  • The Australian journalist has been holed up in the embassy since 2012 to escape deportation to Sweden for questioning over rape allegations.[15]
  • In a live Q&A on guardian.co.uk, the Australian journalist highlighted the role alleged to have been played in the leaks by Bradley Manning.[16]
  • The Australian journalist, who is staying at Ellingham Hall, the 10-bedroom Suffolk mansion of Vaughan Smith, the founder of the Frontline club for correspondents in London, says he is bewildered by the allegations.[17]
  • Exactly one year ago last week, a scruffy Australian journalist knocked on the door of the Frontline Club, London's only private members' hotel and bar for independent journalists. After walking past framed photographs of cameramen in some of the world's most dangerous places, the white-haired man was greeted by Captain Vaughan Smith, an affable ex-soldier who founded the club after spending nearly two decades filming conflict zones from Bosnia to Afghanistan. Julian Assange's reputation preceded him.[18]
  • Assange previously attacked The Fifth Estate, calling its screenplay "a mass propaganda attack" on his website. However, the first trailer suggests the film gives a fair, even positive, portrayal of the Australian journalist.[19]
  • Last Sunday, it was reported that the website, run by Australian journalist and IT expert Julian Assange, had "vowed to publish the classified documents tomorrow".[20]
  • Julian Assange, the 39-year-old Australian journalist whose site has enraged the American government by releasing hundreds of secret embassy cables, said the money would help him defend himself against allegations of sexual assault made by two women in Sweden.[21]
  • The Scandinavian-based organization was founded in 2006, with co-founder Assange, an Australian journalist and online activist, serving as editor-in chief.[22]

This is just a small fraction of the hits one gets when one searches for "Julian Assange" and "Australian journalist" in LexisNexis. There are tons of articles like this from reliable sources. -Thucydides411 (talk) 23:54, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

Most of the Google results for "Julian Assange" "Australian journalist" are referring to other "Australian journalists", not Assange. Specifically finding sources that call Assange a journalist does not show there is a consensus that he is a journalist. I would suggest looking at the stories I linked to which specifically discuss the question. It seems to me that Julian Assange has engaged in journalism, he has acted as a journalist, but that is not what he typically does, so he is not consistently called a journalist. Kolya Butternut (talk) 01:18, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Even if that were a plausible explanation for why he is not consistently called a journalist, you have admitted that he has engaged in journalism and acted as a journalist, and if you're right about that, it would explain why he is recognized as a journalist by so many. Meanwhile, the fact that he isn't always called a journalist would be no more significant than the fact that he is not always, and by everyone, called an activist, although he clearly is that as well. Countless news articles including in the New York Times have in recent days avowed that what Wikileaks does cannot be meaningfully distinguished from journalism. He has been described in (probably countless) reliable sources as a journalist, and won numerous awards for journalism. Since he has never announced his retirement from journalism or disavowed it, and has worked closely with more major news organizations around the world on major, world-historical, and impactful news stories than almost anyone alive, it follows logically that he can be considered a journalist. In fact, it should be absurd to anyone familiar with the facts that this would be in doubt. Walkinxyz (talk) 07:55, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
The LexisNexis database has clearly a more extensive range of articles than can be accessed via Google. The range of articles that Thucydides has dredged up goes back to 2010. The selection produced only demonstrates that some people over the years have called him a journalist. This was never in doubt. The question is: should we call him a journalist when many deny he is a journalist, and many others describe him in a different way? The answer has to be no. We shouldn't take sides.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:11, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
I didn't "dredge up" these sources. I entered an obvious search term, "Julian Assange" AND "Australian journalist", into a standard news database, LexisNexis. I came up with way more hits than I could possibly read through in a reasonable amount of time. I filtered out the opinion articles, lesser-known sources, and articles that didn't directly call Assange a "journalist." I stopped adding sources once the point was made, having gotten through only a small fraction of the hits: 25+ reliable sources that unequivocally call Assange a "journalist" should be enough to prove the point.
I don't see what your objection about articles going back to 2010 is supposed to mean. Julian Assange has been widely covered since 2010, so I found articles roughly from then onwards. -Thucydides411 (talk) 17:47, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
See this story I linked to::"Is Assange a Journalist? It Depends What Year You Ask", Bloomberg. Kolya Butternut (talk) 17:59, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
I've read that article. It's an opinion piece, so it's reliable only for the author's opinion. The author makes a glaring mistake early on, however: "If WikiLeaks is not different from a news site, then its newsgathering and publications should be almost entirely protected from American prosecution under the First Amendment." That's a pretty serious misunderstanding of how the First Amendment functions. This is an opinion piece, and not a very well informed one. -Thucydides411 (talk) 19:29, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
We don't use logic to decide if he is a journalist; we use reliable sources. This article doesn't call him an activist either. A book author may "engage in journalism" too, but may usually only be called an author by reliable sources. Also, Britannica: Julian Assange, [...] Australian computer programmer who founded the media organization WikiLeaks. Practicing what he called “scientific journalism"....[35] He's not usually called a scientific journalist either, but this self-description should probably be in the article. Kolya Butternut (talk) 09:37, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Thucydides has given us plenty of reliable sources that confirm he is a journalist. My arguments, it should be pretty clear, are intended to persuade you and others to actually accept that the reliable sources say what they do, rather than doubting what anyone can read with their own eyes. If you read that he was an activist in multiple reliable sources, would you doubt it simply because some sources called him a journalist but never mentioned the term "activist"? I'm using logic because I think that's what happening here is a form of gaslighting. There is actually no controversy among reliable fact-based sources about whether Assange is a journalist. The only controversy is among badly misinformed opinion pieces, like the one that you shared from Bloomberg, which assumes the question of whether Assange is a journalist has some bearing on whether or not he is protected from prosecution by the First Amendment. It does not, and Thucydides has correctly pointed out that such a central misunderstanding about the facts of the matter should be disqualifying for any fact-based RS, never mind for the opinion piece that it is.Walkinxyz (talk) 20:23, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
People here may be interested to know that even the England and Wales High Court Ruling from 2011, on the validity of the European Arrest Warrant against him, begins in the first sentence by describing him as "a journalist well known through his operation of Wikileaks".[36] This so-called "controversy" (which really amounts to a smear) doesn't deserve an airing in a place like Wikipedia, and certainly not in a biographical article about a living person. Walkinxyz (talk) 20:34, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Also, Jack Upland on 16 May 2019, above, suggested that Assange be described as an "activist," and one of Thucydides' sources (The Australian) cited above also refers to him as both an activist and journalist. I think you'll find at least as many reliable sources that describe him as a journalist as call him an activist, but my point is simply that just because there are reliable sources that don't call him an activist, doesn't mean the ones that do (and that call him, say, a journalist) are incorrect. It seems evident from the reliable sources that he is both, and I have no problem with updating the article to include both terms. There is zero controversy from informed sources about either term as they apply to Assange, and certainly no RS evidence has been provided here to support a controversy about it. Walkinxyz (talk) 21:06, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Re:≤ People here may be interested to know that even the England and Wales High Court Ruling from 2011, on the validity of the European Arrest Warrant against him, begins in the first sentence by describing him as "a journalist well known through his operation of Wikileaks" I don't know whether it is the case with Assange, but courts and police will generally accept self-description of a person's profession - unless it has bearing on the case (they wouldn't accept a self-description of medical doctor for example, but if you said you were an artist, they wouldn't ask you when you last had an exhibition or sold a painting).
The 'First amendment' criticism is also invalid, since the opinion piece says "Should be protected" - it does not claim "Is protected". I'm no expert on the US constitution, but even I can see that the freedom to report events deemed to be in the public interest, should possibly be granted protection other than that accorded to private citizens - that is certainly a principle in UK law.
Finally, why is it "a smear" to question whether what Assange is most commonly known as is 'journalist'? J K Rowling has become very publicly involved in various political and other public campaigns, Barack Obama has written some excellent, best-selling books - her article doesn't lead with campaigner, and his doesn't even mention the books anywhere in the lead. I actually admire much that Assange has done, but that doesn't mean that I think 'journalist' is the most common description of him. Pincrete (talk) 22:48, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
I read "should" as a statement of probability, not of desire. In any case, the First Amendment applies equally to journalists and non-journalists. The opinion piece appears to be uninformed on this issue. -Thucydides411 (talk) 23:19, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't know whether it is the case with Assange, but courts and police will generally accept self-description of a person's profession. You don't know? The judge explicitly said he was well known in the same breath as saying he was a journalist. That doesn't sound like the judge was just accepting any private individual's self-description.Walkinxyz (talk) 04:31, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Thucydides is correct about the First Amendment applying equally to journalists and non-journalists. And why is it a smear to question whether Assange is commonly known as a 'journalist'? Because there are countless reliable sources that say he is one, and nothing but misinformed and politically-motivated opinion asserting that he isn't. Why is this case unlike the case of Obama and Rowling, whose most notable achievements, respectively, are being President of the USA for two terms and being a best-selling author? Because Assange's journalism and its impact on world-historical events is without a doubt one of the most notable things about him, according to the reliable sources that describe his impact and which call him a journalist in the same breath. Nonetheless, Rowling's Wikipedia article describes her as a "philanthropist," along with a variety of other descriptors, in the very first sentence. Obama's article calls him an attorney in the first sentence, before mentioning that he was President. Your argument falls apart on its own terms, never mind the question that really matters, which is whether reliable sources say Assange is a journalist. They do, which, for our purposes, means that he is.Walkinxyz (talk) 04:51, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Of course I understand that the First Amendment applies to all, even UK citizens know that - as I'm sure does the writer of the piece, though both you and Thucydides are trying to argue that the writer of "should be protected", is claiming "is protected" and is therefore not a competent person. I have no knowledge whatsoever of how "public interest" plays out in US jurisdiction in publishing material that might be 'illegally' obtained, (it is a valid defence in the UK and sometimes wins), but even I understand the difference between "should be" and "is" ! I don't doubt that sources sometimes call Assange a journalist - I doubt strongly that this is the primary description, rather than founder/editor or some other descriptor relating to his role in WL - which has done many worthwhile, but some more dubious actions, but which is categorically not a journal or a newspaper. Lastly, how much research do you imagine a court does to establish someone's profession? If I want to call myself a 'local businessman' rather than a 'street vendor', why wouldn't they defer to my wishes? Pincrete (talk) 16:34, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
The court would make an effort to establish someone's profession if it was relevant to the case. In the rape case, it's not. But if the court is just identifying the accused, they wouldn't even bother to establish his real name.--Jack Upland (talk) 23:55, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
The court self-evidently didn't need to establish his profession or identity because he was already "a journalist well known through his operation of Wikileaks". It wasn't a legal question taken up by the court, nor is it a legal question here. But the fact that a High Court judge recognized that he was "well known" in the same breath that he was a journalist indicates that there were no doubts about this basic fact. He could have said "Julian Assange, residing at [address]..." or "Julian Assange, an Australian national..." but he didn't. He referred to him by his profession. If Julian Assange, despite all that is known about him, had declared himself a street vendor to the judge, the latter most certainly would not have written, "Julian Assange, a street vendor well known through his operation of Wikileaks." You can call yourself whatever you want, Pincrete, and we wouldn't be any the wiser because you're not well known. Walkinxyz (talk) 03:11, 2 June 2019 (UTC)

Rosguill, relating to your vote above, why on earth would a "non-opinion RS" state that Assange was not a journalist? That sort of statement only belongs in an opinion piece. Your comment ignores all the sources that have not called Assange a journalist. Thucydides has found a handful that do. The description is clearly contentious, and is not used by most reliable sources.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:27, 30 May 2019 (UTC)

Jack Upland, given the importance of the label for framing the conversation moving forward (both established by various RS and people in this conversation), I would honestly be surprised if no RS has included some sort of clarification or explanation to the effect of "Assange calls himself a journalist but it's not clear that he is one because XYZ", and in fact we have three that come close to this but ultimately leave their statements equivocal, with Reporters without Borders IMO coming closest to a direct assertion that Assange is not a journalist based on the quotes in the above discussion. The NYTimes source could have said though he is not a journalist.... Instead, they said though he is not a conventional journalist, which implies that he is some sort of journalist, just not a conventional one. On its own, this would be a weak argument for calling Assange a journalist, but together with other RS that unequivocally call him a journalist I think that the most accurate reflection of RS reporting is to call him a journalist. signed, Rosguill talk 16:37, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Jack Upland Re, "Your comment ignores all the sources that have not called Assange a journalist." This is about as relevant as saying that we ignored all the sources that didn't mention his birthplace, and that therefore there is controversy about that. Or saying that not all reliable sources about the Planet Earth mention that it's round, and so presuming that there is some credible controversy over whether, in fact, it may actually be flat. There is no such controversy. The term journalist is used by enough reliable sources as to be uncontroversial to a UK High Court judge, who described him as "a journalist well known through his operation of Wikileaks".[37] If you believe this is disputed by reliable sources, you need to provide comparable fact-based reliable sources that dispute it. You've admitted that you can't, and so you're imposing on this article your own POV about this "controversy". The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, but in any case, there is an abundance of evidence in reliable sources that demonstrates he is a journalist. This should be the end of the debate. Walkinxyz (talk) 20:49, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
In 2010 a UK judge called him a journalist. In 2019 United States Assistant Attorney General John Demers said “Julian Assange is no journalist.” From Wikileaks: Harvard professor Yochai Benkler praised WikiLeaks as a new form of journalistic enterprise [...] Media ethicist Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies wrote in 2011: "WikiLeaks might grow into a journalist endeavor. But it's not there yet."[67] Bill Keller of The New York Times considers WikiLeaks to be a "complicated source" rather than a journalistic partner.[67] Prominent First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams writes that WikiLeaks is not a journalistic group, but instead "an organization of political activists; ... a source for journalists; and ... a conduit of leaked information to the press and the public".[68] In support of his opinion, he said Assange's statements that WikiLeaks reads only a small fraction of information[clarification needed] before deciding to publish it, Abrams writes: "No journalistic entity I have ever heard of—none—simply releases to the world an elephantine amount of material it has not read." There's no controversy you said? Kolya Butternut (talk) 00:14, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
As Assistant Attorney General, Demers is part of the office leading the prosecution of Assange and is a member of the US political executive, not part of the judicial branch. He has a vested interest in painting things in the most favourable light for his own case due to the adversarial nature of the justice system. His statement is quite different from the statement of a judge, who is required to weigh both sides even-handedly. Even more to the point, this particular ruling was decided against Assange, making it unlikely that the judge could be credibly accused of bias in favour of him, and making it likely that the term "journalist" was applied as a plain, uncontroversial and "well known" matter of fact.Walkinxyz (talk) 04:31, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I think you’ve pretty much made the point. He is no more a journalist than the founders of The Pirate Bay are musicians and film producers. And once again, I am not saying anything about the efficacy of his actions – only the label. O3000 (talk) 00:23, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Were The Pirate Bay founders referred to as musicians and filmmakers in multiple reliable sources? Did they win multiple prominent awards for their work in the arts? Did the New York Times say that they had changed how music is recorded forever? Did the unions for recording artists or film workers say that they were members whose work in those fields should be protected? Did a US High Court judge weighing evidence about them refer to them as "musicians and filmmakers well known for their founding of The Pirate Bay"? No? Then maybe the label applies more than you think. Walkinxyz (talk) 05:15, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
It seems we can't call him a journalist in the lead. But, we should include the controversy in the body. O3000 (talk) 00:35, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
How can you say that in the face of the 20+ reliable sources listed above? It looks like you're throwing WP:RS out the window. -Thucydides411 (talk) 00:46, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, I could just as easily say that you are throwing out all the RS that say he isn't. But, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying we can't say it in Wikivoice and we can't say it in the lead. We can discuss the controversy in the body. (This is ignoring your claim of 20+ RS.) O3000 (talk) 00:48, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
You cite CNN, The Independent, and Spiegel, among others. An opinion piece on CNN: "Julian Assange is an activist, not a journalist", an opinion from The Independent: "real investigative journalism was about the dogged pursuit of truth through one’s own sources rather than upsetting a bowl of secrets in front of readers", Der Spiegel asks: "Do you consider him a journalist or an activist?". We can't just look for when the sources call him a journalist. Kolya Butternut (talk) 01:04, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
@Objective3000: I'm not ignoring any reliable sources. Nobody has yet presented a reliable source that says that Assange is not a journalist.
@Kolya Butternut: Opinion pieces are not reliable sources. If you can find reliable sources that say Assange is not a journalist, then we can talk. But right now, you're pointing out opinion pieces that contradict reliable sources. -Thucydides411 (talk) 01:15, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Opinion pieces are the only sources you will find that say he is not a journalist, just as opinion pieces are the only sources you will find that explain that he is a journalist, rather than just stating it. RS that do not consider him to be a journalist introduce him another way. We must rely on opinion pieces. Maybe you should compare stories about Assange to stories about conventional journalists who also run media companies. How often are they called journalists? You haven't done a comparison; you have only searched specifically for sources where he is called a journalist. I would suggest finding sources after the 2016 leak of the DNC emails, when his reputation began to change. Kolya Butternut (talk) 01:38, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
@Kolya Butternut: Re: 'just as opinion pieces are the only sources you will find that explain that he is a journalist, rather than just stating it' - Actually, Jack Upland has found a very helpful academic source that explains that he is a journalist. From Newspaper Research Journal, Vol. 35, No. 1, Winter 2014:
Le Monde's descriptive writings regarding Assange's acts imply journalistic deeds. Through the recounting of Assange's disclosure of information about dictatorial regimes, secret government programs, and fraudulent bank practices, Assange comes to resemble an investigative reporter. For example, one journalist discusses how Assange uses whistleblowers who provide evidence of "illegal or immoral acts committed by their bosses, their superiors, politicians or state officials."' In another article, the same reporter points out that Assange uses a network of "800 technicians and journalists" to verify the authenticity of documents and to edit them before publication. And:
Le Monde's writers appear to reinforce the notion that WikiLeaks was playing a legitimate journalistic role. For example, one editorialist discusses how WikiLeaks servers had to be moved to Sweden, a country that has "very protective legislation for the freedom of the press and guaranties the confidentiality of journalistic sources."' A reporter tells of how Assange was invited to the University of Berkley to participate in a conference about investigative reporting, and how the non-governmental organization Amnesty International awarded him with their Media Prize, which recognizes journalists who support human rights. (p. 72-73). Walkinxyz (talk) 21:09, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
The question we are discussing is whether to call Assange a journalist, not whether to imply that he performs journalistic deeds. "In Le Monde's news items, Assange is not referred to as a journalist; rather, neutral labels such as 'founder of WikiLeaks' or 'source of information' are used." (p. 72) Kolya Butternut (talk) 09:21, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
Please try to follow the discussion that you yourself started. You said, opinion pieces are the only sources you will find that explain that he is a journalist and I provided a non-opinion, fact-based academic source that explained that he is a journalist. There are plenty of other reliable sources that call him a journalist. This one explains it.
Enough reliable sources call Assange a journalist to make this a notable fact about him. This is the only question that is relevant to Wikipedia. To make the argument that this fact should not be included, you either need high quality, reliable sources that persuasively contradict it, or you need to persuade us the fact isn't notable. Based on my review of the evidence provided, you won't succeed with either. If you don't think it should be included in the lede, you have to convince us that it isn't an important or significant enough fact about him to be mentioned off the top. Given that the organization he is best known for is a media organization, that he and Wikileaks have won multiple prominent journalism awards, that he is a member of a journalism union that calls him a journalist, and that his work has had world-historical impact including on journalism itself (the New York Times suggested almost a decade ago that it had changed journalism forever), I suspect you won't succeed with that, either. Walkinxyz (talk) 05:05, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
This Pirate Bay distinction you claim is absurd. Speaking as a filmmaker myself, I find it rather thoughtless. Many filmmakers have also founded film distribution companies. Many musicians have also founded music labels. Assange created a website, as have many musicians and film producers. Assange is also a journalist who has written for and collaborated with the most widely-read news organs in the world. The Pirate Bay founders do not make films or music, nor do they collaborate closely with film and music companies, so they are not called musicians or filmmakers. However, it is not the fact that they founded the Pirate Bay that disqualifies them from this label, but simply the fact that they do not make films or music. Nonetheless, it is certainly conceivable that they could be musicians and filmmakers, in principle, if they made films and/or music, and the fact that they operate a website wouldn't change that fact if it were true. If Yo-Yo Ma had founded The Pirate Bay, he would be no less a musician. There are no credible sources calling the Pirate Bay founders musicians or filmmakers. There are countless reliable sources calling Assange one. That's literally the only distinction that matters here.Walkinxyz (talk) 04:31, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Of course, the analogy also falls apart on the basic distinction that The Pirate Bay allows people to download the work of programmers, musicians and filmmakers. Wikileaks is not a platform for the piracy or distribution of others' journalism. In that light, your comparison seems to me nothing more than a political smear.Walkinxyz (talk) 04:41, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I have found a journal article that discusses this topic, based on a survey of newspapers 2010-2011: Catherine A. Luther and Ivanka Radovic,"Newspapers Frame Julian Assange Differently", Newspaper Research Journal, Vol. 35, No. 1, Winter 2014, p 64. (I haven't found a freely available online version, unfortunately.) Notable quotes include:
  • "Only one item in The New York Times refers to Assange as a journalist and his site as a form of 'investigative journalism'." [And that item was authored by American dissident Noam Chomsky.]
  • "In an editorial describing how The New York Times and two other newspapers, Britain’s The Guardian and Germany’s Der Spiegel, came to work with WikiLeaks to procure copies of the diplomatic cables, the writer asserts that at no time was WikiLeaks considered a news organization and Assange as a journalist."
  • "Descriptions of Assange as a journalist and WikiLeaks as a form of journalism are absent in articles [in the NYT] published after the cable disclosures. Instead, they refer to WikiLeaks as an “anti-secrecy group” and disparagingly characterize Assange as “volatile” and a “former computer hacker.” Although the articles connote the idea that Assange thinks of himself as a journalist, all of the items essentially scoff at any such notion."
  • "Le Figaro’s writers criticize WikiLeaks’ mode of operation and slam Assange’s pretense to be a journalist. In describing Assange, only two articles written by the same author refer to Assange as a journalist."
  • "In Le Monde’s news items, Assange is not referred to as a journalist; rather, neutral labels such as “founder of WikiLeaks” or “source of information” are used."
This supports the notion that mainstream newspapers rarely call him a "journalist". I think the argument being put here is contradictory. In a different discussion, I raised the point that media sources have referred to Assange as a "hacker" or an "ex-hacker" etc. Thucydides411 countered this by saying that a few sources wasn't enough. However, now he and Walkinxyz are arguing that the use of "journalist" by sources scattered over a decade proves that the term must be used in the opening sentence. If I went into LexisNexis or another database and found 20 reliable sources calling Assange a former hacker, would that mean that we must call him a former hacker in the opening sentence? Of course not. Thucydides says Assange's hacking convictions can't be mentioned in the introduction at all, despite the fact it is covered by numerous reliable sources, but we must call him a journalist in the opening sentences because a scattering of reliable sources do this. That is illogical in the extreme.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:29, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
That's quite a dishonest summary of the article, Jack Upland. This is the abstract of the article:
This analysis of coverage of Assange in two U. S. and two French newspapers found that The New York Times was more critical of Wikileaks and more leery of Internet freedom of expression than was The Washington Post. LeMonde framed Assange as a journalist.
Contrary to how you've presented the article, the authors directly state in the abstract that Le Monde frames Assange as a journalist. The article also states that The Washington Post implied that Assange as a journalist, and that some articles in Le Figaro called him a journalist. Why did you leave those facts out of your summary? -Thucydides411 (talk) 20:36, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I just picked out the quotes that seemed most apposite to the issue here. The authors clearly state that Le Monde's news items do not call him a journalist. I left out the Washington Post because I couldn't find a clear statement. The closest I could find is: "In an editorial, the writer asserts that convicting Assange would 'imply that the First Amendment does not prevent prosecution of American journalists who seek and publish classified information', thus equating Assange’s work with that of a journalist". Firstly, this is an editorial and hence opinion. Secondly, it doesn't actually say that Assange is a journalist, and in my opinion doesn't even imply it. My quotes above include the fact that Le Figaro called him a journalist in two articles. The point is that mainstream news organisations rarely call Assange a journalist in news items, as opposed to opinion pieces. The consensus seems to be that the question of whether he's a journalist is a matter of opinion, and those who call him a journalist tend to be his supporters and admirers.--Jack Upland (talk) 21:06, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
That is flatly not what the scholarly source you provided indicates. It indicates that the question of whether he's a journalist is resolved by close attention to the descriptions of his work provided in news reports about him, rather than personally, ideologically, or politically-motivated labels and smears (e.g. "terrorist") in editorials and by governments:
Le Figaro, recognized as right-leaning, appeared to support its conservative government's position in joining the U.S. government's condemnation of Assange and WikiLeaks. (p.77), whereas
Le Monde's descriptive writings regarding Assange's acts imply journalistic deeds. Through the recounting of Assange's disclosure of information about dictatorial regimes, secret government programs, and fraudulent bank practices, Assange comes to resemble an investigative reporter. (p. 72-73) -Walkinxyz (talk) 21:41, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Actually that proves my point. Calling Assange a journalist is not "neutral" (in the words of the authors). Those who do so tend to be left-leaning and/or pro-Assange; those who deny it tend to be right-leaning and/or anti-Assange. It's a contentious term.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:21, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
@Jack Upland: You gave a very inaccurate summary of the article, which left out statements which directly contradict your position. One of those statements is right in the abstract: "LeMonde framed Assange as a journalist". -Thucydides411 (talk) 22:16, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I never claimed to summarise the article. Firstly, I think best practice is to quote the article, not the abstract. Secondly, the term "frame" in the sense used by the article is not standard English. As I see it, the gist of their findings is that Le Monde implies he is or resembles a journalist, but never uses the term in news items because it isn't "neutral". We should do something similar.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:21, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
So you're basically admitting that you selectively quoted passages that give a very different impression from the author's overall findings. As for the term "frame," its use in the article is perfectly standard English. -Thucydides411 (talk) 03:54, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
I selected passages which deal with the issue here: whether the newspapers specifically refer to Assange as a journalist. I can't find "frame" in that sense in any dictionary I've looked at. If you want to "frame" Assange as a journalist in this Wikipedia article, there's nothing to stop you. That's beyond the scope of this RfC.--Jack Upland (talk) 23:37, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
"To construct in words so as to establish a context for understanding or interpretation." Kolya Butternut (talk) 23:55, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. I should have gone to the Wikidictionary. I think there is nothing wrong with constructing a context in which readers who make up their own mind might think that Assange is a journalist. I think the problem is insisting this is obviously true.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:36, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
The beauty of Wikipedia is that we don't need to insist anything is obviously true. Reliable sources, provided with inline citations, allow readers to satisfy themselves that it is true. Walkinxyz (talk) 04:43, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Jack. I have accessed this article. While it does seem interesting and topical, the abstract also suggests that it's far from a comprehensive or up-to-date review: This analysis of coverage of Assange in two U. S. and two French newspapers found that The New York Times was more critical of Wikileaks and more leery of Internet freedom of expression than was The Washington Post. LeMonde framed Assange as a journalist. (emphasis added) The article, whose scholarship I cannot fault, also explicitly frames attempts to disparage or discredit Assange and Wikileaks as being personally, ideologically or politically-motivated. For example, Attorney General Eric Holder (a prominent member of the US executive branch at the time, not an expert on journalism) was cited by the New York Times on the question of whether or not what Wikileaks does is journalism, and former colleagues of Julian Assange are quoted making remarks about his personality and mental state. The academic article also does not consider any sources after 2011. However, it does state that, "While The New York Times content did not confer credibility to WikiLeaks another related frame that was revealed in the analysis suggested recognition that the organization had forever changed the mode of journalism." Given that you were giving Thucydides411 a hard time for looking as far back as 2010 (even though he also included more recent sources), and given that even one of the more critical sources cited in this article acknowledges that Wikileaks has changed journalism, I'm not convinced. I do appreciate your finding it for us, though. I think it's a fine source of historical information about press coverage of Wikileaks.
Also of interest, from p. 72: In an article similarly criticizing the Obama administration, the [Washington Post] journalist blames the State Department for the leaks. According to the journalist, Assange invited the State Department to redact the documents before their release, but was rebuffed. This then led Assange to believe that the risks involved in their release were "'entirely fanciful'."' Despite what others have said here, this sounds exactly like what a journalist might do before releasing sensitive information.
Also, you left out a significant bit of detail regarding Le Figaro's coverage: In describing Assange, only two articles written by the same author refer to Assange as a journalist. The others use disparaging descriptors such as "young information pirate" and "high-tech terrorist.""" In condemning WikiLeaks, one article quotes U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden as saying that he did not consider Assange "plotting with a U.S. army serviceman to get secret documents" the same as a journalist obtaining information from a secret source. (emphasis added) So, again, a member of the US executive branch (the same executive branch that was embarrassed by Wikileaks' revelations about them) is cited as an authority on who counts as a journalist, and far-from-neutral (and I would say, even outrageous) terms like "terrorist" are applied by ostensible news sources. After that, the academic article discusses two op-eds that take issue with Wikileaks' worldview as much as their methods. The political slant seems clear.
Finally, the scholarly article itself seems to find credible the idea that Assange is a journalist: Le Monde's descriptive writings regarding Assange's acts imply journalistic deeds. Through the recounting of Assange's disclosure of information about dictatorial regimes, secret government programs, and fraudulent bank practices, Assange comes to resemble an investigative reporter. For example, one journalist discusses how Assange uses whistleblowers who provide evidence of "illegal or immoral acts committed by their bosses, their superiors, politicians or state officials."' In another article, the same reporter points out that Assange uses a network of "800 technicians and journalists" to verify the authenticity of documents and to edit them before publication. And: Le Monde's writers appear to reinforce the notion that WikiLeaks was playing a legitimate journalistic role. For example, one editorialist discusses how WikiLeaks servers had to be moved to Sweden, a country that has "very protective legislation for the freedom of the press and guaranties the confidentiality of journalistic sources."' A reporter tells of how Assange was invited to the University of Berkley to participate in a conference about investigative reporting, and how the non-governmental organization Amnesty International awarded him with their Media Prize, which recognizes journalists who support human rights. (p. 72-73).
So yeah, he's a journalist, and it's not controversial even among the well-informed scholarship that you've found, either. -Walkinxyz (talk) 20:46, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
So to sum up what you're saying: the survey was done in 2010-2011, it only involved a few newspapers, and I didn't quote the whole article. I told you that in the first place.--Jack Upland (talk) 21:31, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I have also accessed the article. The question we are discussing is whether he is called a journalist, not whether he is framed as a journalist or whether WikiLeaks is a journalistic entity. It couldn't be more clear that he is rarely called a journalist, while he is described using "neutral labels such as "founder of WikiLeaks" or "source of information". Kolya Butternut (talk) 09:32, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
He is not "rarely" called a journalist, he is frequently called a journalist in reliable sources, which have been amply documented here. He is also uncontroversially the founder of Wikileaks ("a journalist well known through his operation of Wikileaks" said the UK High Court) and, back in 2010-11 when the academic article was written, had been a source for many news organizations. It shouldn't be surprising that he's also referred to in that way. Both are true. They are not mutually incompatible. To prove that there is a credible debate about him being a journalist, you need to provide current, reliable fact-based sources that say he is not a journalist and you need to provide them in sufficient number and quality to justifiably call into question the very large number of high-quality sources that describe him as one. Walkinxyz (talk) 02:58, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
Around 20 sources have been provided referring to Assange as a journalist by specifically searching for "'Assange 'journalist'". If 500 stories don't call him a journalist and 20 do, does that mean he is frequently called a journalist? You're putting a higher standard on the evidence for a "no" !vote. Based on your requirement, you need to provide current, reliable fact-based sources that say he "is a journalist", not just RS that refer to him as a journalist. Most RS do not refer to him as a journalist. Kolya Butternut (talk) 11:10, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, 20 specific sources out of countless search results have been provided to support the fact that he's a journalist. Whereas you haven't provided even one fact-based reliable source that says the opposite. So this "frequency" question is a straw-man. Under WP:BLP, contentious material "that is unsourced or poorly sourced" must be removed. The claim that he is a journalist is well sourced. The claim that he is not is poorly sourced. You and others have cited statements from political officials who who wish to prosecute Assange for revealing information that embarrassed their government, and opinion pieces/editorials that support them. It is those statements which should require much closer scrutiny. Obviously, the fact that they were made is notable, but they don't change the facts. Assange is a journalist. Walkinxyz (talk) 04:41, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Several editors have suggested including the debate whether Assange is a journalist in the article. The problem is that in many sources this is part of a argument about the First Amendment or some other free speech provision. (In fact, in some cases, saying he is or is not a journalist is a shorthand way of talking about the "freedom of the press".) As several editors have pointed out this argument is simplistic. If we are going to include legal commentary in the article, we should be citing legal experts. We should avoid citing journalists pontificating about the rights of journalists. However, I think it would be better to concentrate on legal issues that have actually been raised in court rather than hypothetical ones. We do not want to give the impression to readers that Assange's legal battles can be summed up in the question of whether he is a journalist.--Jack Upland (talk) 18:33, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
  • It seems that if he is or is not a journalist is controversial (at least in this RfC), and there are sources to substantiate the debate. Jtbobwaysf (talk) 23:13, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
There are opinion pieces that argue he's not a journalist. Nobody has yet presented any reliable sources that state that he's not a journalist. By contrast, every single reliable source that has been presented in this discussion has called him a "journalist." The reliable sources are very one-sided in this discussion, in contrast to the opinion pieces. -Thucydides411 (talk) 00:17, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
There are no sources that say Clark Kent isn't a journalist. Your claim that every single RS presented here has called him a journalist is astounding. O3000 (talk) 00:21, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
If The Guardian, The Independent, The Times (London), The Telegraph, The Australian, CNN, The BBC, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, ITAR-TASS, Wirtschaftswoche, and many other news agencies had written news articles (not opinion pieces) calling Clark Kent a "journalist," then yes, we would call him a "journalist." That's the situation we have with Julian Assange - more than twenty reliable sources have been presented that directly call him a "journalist," and not a single reliable source has been presented that contradicts this designation. -Thucydides411 (talk) 00:54, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
I have to agree with Thucydides. It's not enough that his being called a journalist is controversial among Wikipedia editors. They don't count as reliable sources, and neither do the opinion pieces provided to justify that position. Walkinxyz (talk) 02:58, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
I think you're all wrong. Mr Kent is a journalist. The fact — or moonshine — that he moonlights in caped capers over the rooftops of Gotham City does not detract from the fact that his day job is a journalist and he is a staunch union member. There is no source in the universe that supports a treason of Clark's.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:20, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
I think we can all agree that Clark Kent is a journalist, although Gotham City is where Batman fights crime, not Superman. And I'm not sure what "treason" has to do with anything, but I don't believe it belongs in a discussion about Assange's profession. Perhaps someone has been dipping into the moonshine? Walkinxyz (talk) 04:48, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

One thing that hasn't been mentioned here yet: Julian Assange is a long-time member of the main Australian journalists' union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance ([38]). -Thucydides411 (talk) 06:53, 2 June 2019 (UTC)

I was wondering if that would come up. The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, as its name suggests, is not a "journalists' union". It covers journalists, artists, actors, and circus clowns. This recent letter from the union states that "Mr Assange is an Australian citizen and has been a member of MEAA’s Media Section – the trade union and professional association of Australian media workers – since 2007". This suggests that Assange is a "media worker", which is obviously true. The letter does not call him a journalist. Moreover, unions (in Australia at least) do not generally check your credentials. If you are willing to pay your dues, they will put your on their books and keep you there till you stop paying. In fact, the Australian Labor Party requires that its members join the relevant union, leading to incongruities such as Senator Stephen Conroy being a member of the Transport Workers Union. If I was prepared to waste hours in pointless research I could regale you, comrade, with endless examples of people who were members of Australian unions that had nothing to do with their real occupation. I say this as someone who has been a member of many Australian unions and considers it money well spent.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:04, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
"circus clowns": That's cute, but the union has stated that it considers Julian Assange a journalist:
"Mr Assange's rights should be respected just the same as other journalists." - Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney, as quoted in "Journalists' union shows support for Assange," ABC.
Moreover, unions (in Australia at least) do not generally check your credentials. If you are willing to pay your dues, they will put your on their books and keep you there till you stop paying. If you've read the article I've linked, then you'll know that the union specifically recognized Julian Assange as a journalist, waived his membership fees "in a show of solidarity," and presented him with an honorary member card. Assange was already a member beforehand, but the union held a ceremony in order to show their support for him.
The letter does not call him a journalist. But it does call out the fact that WikiLeaks has won Australia's most prestigious journalism prize, the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism. The union has previously called Assange a "journalist," as I point out above, and in this letter, they call out WikiLeaks' journalism prize.
If I was prepared to waste hours in pointless research I could regale you, comrade, with endless examples of people who were members of Australian unions that had nothing to do with their real occupation. How about you just read the linked article before giving your opinion? -Thucydides411 (talk) 19:07, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
The union does not specifically recognize Julian Assange as a journalist. It specifically recognized him as a member of the union for media workers. It is only implied that he is a journalist when Victorian MEAA branch secretary Louise Connor compared him to other journalists, and said he does journalism. If someone does journalism does that make them a journalist? There is no consensus. From the Walkley Foundation: "In 2011, Wikileaks, with Julian Assange as its editor, received a Walkley Award in Australia for its outstanding contribution to journalism. [...] Many mainstream journalists worked with Assange’s material to publish their own reports".[39] It sounds like he is an editor who contributed to journalism by providing material to journalists. An editor is "A person at a newspaper, publisher or similar institution who edits stories and/or decides which ones to publish."[40] Publisher would also be an appropriate term. Kolya Butternut (talk) 21:10, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
And let's see how the MEAA union describes Assange in their "lead" in a recent letter:

We write to convey concerns about the possible extradition to the United States of Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks, and urge the UK and Australian governments to oppose extradition to that country. Mr Assange is an Australian citizen and has been a member of MEAA’s Media Section – the trade union and professional association of Australian media workers – since 2007.[41]

Kolya Butternut (talk) 21:22, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
The union does not specifically recognize Julian Assange as a journalist. I literally just linked to an article in which the union repeatedly calls Assange a journalist. What is your strategy here? Denying something that everyone can read won't make people take your argument more seriously.
There are dozens of reliable sources listed above that call Assange a "journalist." He's won several major journalism prizes. The union that represents journalists in Australia says he's a journalist. What is this entire debate about? You can others here have been arguing that we should take opinion pieces (i.e., not reliable sources) written by political opponents of Assange, and use them to overrule what the reliable sources say. -Thucydides411 (talk) 22:48, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
There certainly is a lot going on there to respond to. Your 1st sentence is a misrepresentation of facts, 2nd is a false attack on my credibility, 3rd and 4th are motte and bailey arguments, 5th is a misrepresentation of facts, 6th and 7th are a strawman/appeal to ridicule.
In more detail:
I literally just linked to an article in which the union repeatedly calls Assange a journalist. The article from 2010 included quotes from MEAA representatives which stated ""Mr Assange's rights should be respected just the same as other journalists", and "We'd like to remind everyone that Julian, like other members of the media alliance, is covered by our code of ethics that covers journalists", "We've been very disappointed in the way his journalism has been characterised". I interpret these statements to be direct comparisons to journalists in order to defend his first amendment rights; they do not repeatedly call Assange a journalist. According to an opinion in Business Insider, "The data dump in 2010 had many markers of public-interest reporting. Some of WikiLeaks’s more recent actions clearly don’t.[42] After apparently years of silence, in 2019, the MEAA wrote in a letter to the British and Australian governments, "We write to convey concerns about the possible extradition to the United States of Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks, and urge the UK and Australian governments to oppose extradition to that country. Mr Assange is an Australian citizen and has been a member of MEAA’s Media Section – the trade union and professional association of Australian media workers – since 2007."[43] The only occurrence of the word journalist is in the context of the 2010 actions: "In 2011 the WikiLeaks organisation was awarded the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism – in recognition of the impact WikiLeaks’ actions had on public interest journalism by assisting whistleblowers to tell their stories." All of this is of course overfocusing on one media union in the world which had compared Assange to a journalist in 2010.
There are dozens of reliable sources listed above that call Assange a "journalist." Yes, and there are hundreds more which call him something else. The scholarly article which specifically studied the question of whether newspapers call him a journalist shows that even the newspapers supportive of him only imply he is a journalist, as discussed above. And this study was done back when he was more respected.
The burden is on the !yes vote to show the majority of RS call him a journalist. This has not been achieved. I don't see why it is even important to call him a journalist in this article. We should err on the side of caution and call him a publisher, like the MEAA does in their recent letter for instance. Do you think it's time to agree to disagree? Kolya Butternut (talk) 08:29, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
Your mental acrobatics above are grotesque, Kolya. The media union has most definitely, repeatedly, called him a journalist and/or what he does journalism. These amount to the same thing. If what he is known for is journalism, he is a journalist. If Britney Spears wrote an album of hit songs ten years ago, and some news reports only described her as a singer and not a songwriter, and some critics write that she's really lost her knack for writing songs, or never really had it, does that mean she is not a songwriter? Clearly not. Assange can be both a journalist and publisher. You don't see why it's important to call him a journalist? Because this is an encyclopedia, and facts matter in an encyclopedia. And the fact is that, according to reliable sources, he's a journalist. Walkinxyz (talk) 11:58, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
Your characterization of my comments tells me you're not considering the context of my arguments.  Please refrain from personal attacks.  Kolya Butternut (talk) 12:18, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
I interpret these statements to be direct comparisons to journalists in order to defend his first amendment rights. How can the phrase "Mr Assange's rights should be respected just the same as other journalists" ([44]) be interpreted as anything other than a claim that Assange is a "journalist"? That's the meaning of the word "other" in this sentence. You're really twisting and turning here to wave away all the references to Assanage as a journalist, to his journalism, to his adherence to the journalistic code of ethics, etc.
All of this is of course overfocusing on one media union in the world which had compared Assange to a journalist in 2010. This isn't some random union somewhere in the world. This is the union that represents Australian journalists - the union that Julian Assange, as an Australian journalist (according to the union), belongs to.
According to an opinion in Business Insider: Stop right there. Opinion pieces that contradict reliable sources cannot be used to source statements of fact. We can mention notable opinions, but there is a large body of reliable sources that call Julian Assange a "journalist." -Thucydides411 (talk) 19:28, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
I feel that that is a very uncharitable reading of the nuanced points I was trying to make. If the MEAA intended to claim that Assange is a "journalist", they would have stated that "Assange is a journalist". I believe it was intentional that they did not directly make that claim. I did not say it was a random union, but regardless of their connection to Assange, they are merely one union in a world full of such organizations. Every RS that calls Assange a journalist is expressing an opinion because there is no precise definition of a journalist. All reporters who work for traditional, respected newspapers are factually journalists, but not all journalists work for newspapers. Opinion pieces describe this ambiguity. The referenced scholarly article[45] shows it is not accepted that Assange is a journalist. But I have expressed that I think it is pretty clear that he does or has done journalism, and the MEAA has stated as such today:

"As we said in our previous letter, the extradition of Assange and prosecution by the United States for what are widely considered to be acts of journalism would set a disturbing global precedent for the suppression of press freedom."

[46] Kolya Butternut (talk) 21:18, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
All reporters who work for traditional, respected newspapers are factually journalists. Not at all. Some are stenographers who repeat what people in power say (the academic article cited goes almost as far to say that about Assange's newspaper critics). Some are accessories to the public relations industry, and copy press releases word for word. Some plagiarize what they write from other reporters, and some write sensational gossip that they think people will want to read, but which they don't necessarily believe to be true. Assange is none of those, and in my view, based on a review of the extensive evidence, the distinction you want to make here between journalists and non-journalists either holds for him as a journalist, or it holds for nobody. The latter, I would think, is untenable. As for the union, if they wanted to make a "claim" that Assange was a journalist, the could only have been clearer if someone had asked them, incredulously, "But is Assange really a journalist?" To my knowledge, nobody did that, so your suppositions about what they really think is entirely groundless. A fact only gets constructed as a "claim" when you doubt it. It's not a "claim" to say he's a journalist any more than saying he's Australian is a "claim". The fact that he's a journalist is well-supported by reliable sources. End of story. Walkinxyz (talk) 19:11, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
This sounds like focusing on the imprecision of my comments when you could instead argue against a steel man. To put it simply, many journalists are virtually universally accepted as journalists when they fit the traditional role, while for other people it is more ambiguous, and there is no clear definition of a journalist.
I used the word claim in response to Thucydides411.
Since their 2011 statements (which I interpret the same as the 2019 statements), the MEAA has only in 2019 stated that Assange has performed "acts of journalism". I do not believe we can infer that their opinion is that he is a journalist. And of course, theirs is just one opinion. Kolya Butternut (talk) 21:02, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
Please stop looking for and discussing opinions to decide this. It has nothing to do with the question. A journalism union which defends its member for their journalism isn't expressing an "opinion", any more than it's the priest's "opinion" that I married my wife, my alma mater's "opinion" that I got a degree, or Belmarsh prison's "opinion" that Julian Assange is currently locked up there. This is the professional body that officially represents Australian journalists. Assange is a journalist by those institutional lights, not by anyone's opinion. Walkinxyz (talk) 23:38, 6 June 2019 (UTC)
If you have a real argument you're not being persuasive by repeatedly making strawmen and motte-and-bailey arguments. As you know, one does not need to be a journalist to be a member of MEAA. And performing "acts of journalism" does not make someone a journalist. MEAA doesn't even affirm that Assange performed acts of journalism; they only say that what he did was "widely considered to be acts of journalism". This is what they said literally two days ago. Your best evidence that he "is a journalist" is quotes from them on one occasion eight years ago which you infer meant something more. Your best bet would be to try to put "what are widely considered to be acts of journalism" into the article. I don't think we could ask for a better quote.  Kolya Butternut (talk) 00:20, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
It's obvious from the context that the "acts of journalism" they're referring to in that quotation just days ago are the "acts" that allegedly constitute espionage in the most recent charges brought against him by the US government. In other words, they are talking about acts of journalism in contradistinction to acts of espionage, and not acts of journalism, say, in a career of mostly something else. It would therefore be highly inappropriate to substitute that quote in the Wikipedia article for a simple, truthful description of Assange's occupation. In a court of law, what is weighed are a person's acts, and this release is framed with that in mind. What is legally and morally relevant to the media union is that the "crime" cannot be distinguished from what journalists do in the ordinary course of their work. If you can find reliable (non-opinion) sources that does distinguish these acts of Assange's from acts of journalism, or that the media union represents Assange as something other than a journalist (which would explicitly contradict their comparison of his legal status to other journalists, a comparison that necessarily by its grammar includes him in the class of persons known as journalists), you may have a case here. If not, you may need to re-think your position. Walkinxyz (talk) 02:05, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
Also, these "acts" are what Assange is best known for and what he's devoted his life to, so if they're journalism, he is ipso facto a journalist. We've provided reliable sources both saying that what he does is journalism and that he's a journalist because of it. You haven't provided any reliable sources to backup your claim that, even though this is journalism, he's not necessarily a journalist. Walkinxyz (talk) 02:09, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
Or, if it's not your claim (since you said elsewhere that you do think he's a journalist), you haven't provided a reliable source that supports the claim, whosever claim it may be. (Do you even know of someone notable who makes it?) Walkinxyz (talk) 02:11, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
The quotes which you claim show that the MEAA call Assange a journalist are in the same context -- defending him for his actions in "Cablegate". The !yes vote has the burden to show that Assange is a journalist. If I am arguing that Assange shouldn't be called a circus clown, I don't need to find RS that say he isn't a circus clown. If a minority of sources say he is a thing, and pretty much all opinion pieces acknowledge there is no consensus on how he is defined, it is safe to say there is no consensus on how he is defined. Among the other sources I've provided, even in The Intercept they say "Does that make Assange, its founder, a journalist? A debate over that question has raged ever since and has never been resolved."[47] 60 Minutes Australia: "The debate: Is Julian Assange a journalist?"[48] And an opinion piece in the BBC: "For over a decade, there has been a raging debate over precisely what Julian Assange is - whistleblower, journalist, or spy."[49] Your turn: provide evidence there is no controversy over whether he is a journalist. Non-opinion pieces only please. Kolya Butternut (talk) 03:19, 7 June 2019 (UTC)
The quotes which you claim show that the MEAA call Assange a journalist are in the same context -- defending him for his actions in "Cablegate". Correct, and this changes nothing for our argument: they clearly say that he's a journalist (not sure what "claim" would even mean here with respect to my description of it -- there is no alternative possible meaning of "other" in their statement about him). We've provided plenty of reliable sources that describe him as a journalist, and that say that what he's known for is journalism. You've provided opinion pieces (pretty much all opinion pieces acknowledge there is no consensus) that demonstrate that the "controversy" about this is politically motivated. This is precisely why these opinion pieces cannot count as reliable sources on Wikipedia, and certainly not in the face of reliable fact-based sources.
As for the Risen piece, it is an instalment of his regular opinion column. It uses charged, normative language and depicts a heavily politicized environment around the "debate", linking it in the subsequent paragraph to how the US government defines Assange. Risen himself seems to think what Assange did qualifies as journalism. The 60 Minutes excerpt is a two-minute outtake (that apparently didn't make it into their regular broadcast) with an individual who says it's "arguable" one could find fault with Assange's judgment. In the next breath she wonders where the line is between "a journalist simply willing to receive information" and one who "goes further" by encouraging his or her sources to give them information. In other words, she describes Assange implicitly as a journalist, albeit one who may have crossed a line of some kind while doing the things that a journalist does. The BBC opinion piece you provided describes a purely political debate, among the US justice department, and US Democrats and Republicans. Yet even it speculates that the US government itself "may establish that Assange is a poor journalist, but a journalist all the same." Weak sauce for a controversy about a man's occupation.
You seem ready to concede that what Assange does is "widely" considered journalism. Maybe you should take the next step, and accord more weight to reliable fact-based sources over politically-charged opinion pieces. Walkinxyz (talk) 06:05, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
I am not ready to concede; I have all along been making the distinction between "acts of journalism" and being a journalist. There are no fact-based sources that call him a journalist and discuss why that is true; there are only pieces which simply introduce him as one. You have provided no sources which state that there is no "fact-based" debate over whether Assange is a journalist. Reliable sources have stated matter-of-factly that there is a debate over whether he is a journalist. You have not accurately represented what the scholarly article says about how newspapers describe Assange. Kolya Butternut (talk) 08:41, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
How have I misrepresented that article? Please cite my words, and the words of that article, directly. Thanks.
You said above that our "best bet would be to try to put "what are widely considered to be acts of journalism" into the article. I don't think we could ask for a better quote." That sounds like you concede that what he does is widely considered to be journalism. It's true that you have tried to make a distinction between acts of journalism and being a journalist, but you haven't succeeded and you haven't provided a reliable source to support such a distinction. You have also said that you think he's a journalist, which makes me doubt that you are actually committed to such a distinction.
" There are no fact-based sources that call him a journalist and discuss why that is true; there are only pieces which simply introduce him as one. This is false. The academic article that Jack Upland provided both summarizes and explains quite clearly how the fact-based reporting in Le Monde depicts Assange as a journalist. I cited it earlier. The same article describes the "controversy" over this as an explicitly political one. I have not mischaracterized it at all.
"Reliable sources have stated matter-of-factly that there is a debate over whether he is a journalist. Stop fabricating. Your "reliable sources" so far are all opinion pieces. You have also admitted that no non-opinion source would ever say he wasn't a journalist, and that therefore "We must rely on opinion pieces." The controversy is political, not factual. Walkinxyz (talk) 03:59, 9 June 2019 (UTC)
If you want to discuss this further we can continue on one of our talk pages. We've gone beyond bludgeoning. You haven't represented anything accurately. You do not even accurately use the word concede. You just stated that you doubt the distinction I am trying to make because of my personal beliefs. My personal beliefs have nothing to do with my interpretation of the RS, but I suspect yours do. Kolya Butternut (talk) 04:22, 9 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm quite sure that I used the word concede accurately, just as I used the phrase "sounds like" accurately. There is nothing to "interpret" in the reliable sources presented here. They present Assange literally, simply, truthfully, as a journalist. That has nothing to do with anybody's interpretations or opinion, and that's the point. You have constantly injected politicized opinion into this conversation, using it to define a person's occupation on a biography of living person page. This is an egregious violation of Wikipedia's standards. It is not more acceptable simply because the subject of the article is a controversial figure whose "reputation" (as you put it earlier) has suffered in recent years. This is of primary importance for a project like Wikipedia. Feel free to contact me via my Talk page to discuss further. I won't repeat myself anymore here. Walkinxyz (talk) 05:10, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, at this point the inclusion of a "controversy" about whether Assange is a journalist or not would amount to making his Wikipedia biography a mouthpiece for libel and smears. No matter how often those attacks are repeated by opinion columnists and prominent politicians, they aren't true. Assange being a journalist is not contentious. Assange not being a journalist is what is dubious, and nobody here has provided reliable sources to support that position. It is equivalent to the "birther" controversy about Barack Obama. Just because prominent media personalities like Donald Trump and media outlets like Breitbart disputed Obama's birthplace, did not make it a "contentious" fact. This is extremely important to get right for WP:BLP. Allowing political opponents of an individual to define their very profession in the face of all the evidence in the other direction would be a major abdication of responsibility. Whatever else Assange may be, whether you like his work or not, whether you agree with his actions and politics or not, he's a journalist. Get over it, and please let's move on to more important issues. Walkinxyz (talk) 03:33, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
And, by the way, if you read your comments, Comrade Thucydides, you would see that Ged Kearney is not a member of the union. Please do not make false accusations about a woman dear to my heart.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:23, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
Kearney was the president of the Council of Trade Unions, and was invited by the journalists' union to speak in Assange's defense. If you read the article, you'll see that members of the journalists' union also make statements like the following: "We've been very disappointed in the way his journalism has been characterised". There's no question that Assange is considered a journalist by the union that represents Australian journalists. But the Australian journalists' union, the highest awards for journalism in Australia and Italy, and dozens of reliable sources calling Assange a "journalist" are apparently overruled by a few Op-Eds by political critics of Assange. That wouldn't be the standard of evidence in most Wikipedia articles. -Thucydides411 (talk) 19:18, 4 June 2019 (UTC)

Probably one of the most relevant sources "The New York Times's editor, Bill Keller, has recently written about his newspaper's relationship with Julian Assange is potentially so damaging to Assange: "We regarded Assange throughout as a source, not as a partner or collaborator, but he was a man who clearly had his own agenda."[23] Not as relevant but highly regarded and an opinion piece "Peter Greste is a founding director and spokesman for the Alliance for Journalists' Freedom, and UNESCO chair in journalism and communication at the University of Queensland." [24]. We can continue the he said, she said argument as infinitum. or address it more positively and with an agreed methodology which will still not make everyone happy but the alternative is this circular continuum. The Original Filfi (talk) 06:44, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

That's not recent at all. That article is over eight years old, and explicitly doesn't contradict him being a journalist. And even if it did, it wouldn't mean anything because it's an opinion. If a record producer said something once eight years ago about Britney Spears not really being much of a songwriter, would that be a reason to remove the description from her biography, even though countless reliable sources say that she is, in fact, a songwriter? That's what this amounts to. You wouldn't have an argument to remove it just because an editor "only" found 20 reliable sources calling her a songwriter, whereas x number of sources just don't mention her writing those songs, and lots of people don't like her. The criteria need to be this: notability and reliable sources. They both say Assange is a journalist. You can look for compromise all you want, I'm all for it, but you can't compromise those basic principles of Wikipedia. Walkinxyz (talk) 10:59, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
And the quotes from the MEAA union representatives were said once over eight years ago.  Kolya Butternut (talk) 12:34, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
hence the quotes, and check the ref The Original Filfi (talk) 11:09, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
They're both opinion pieces. What's your point? That some people don't like Assange?
Also, Peter Greste is sadly misinformed and distorts the facts. Press freedoms in countries like the United States and other liberal democracies do not apply only to journalists. They apply to everyone. If they didn't, the government would be able to create a list of approved journalists and censor everyone else, a hallmark of authoritarian regimes (Greste should know, having been imprisoned in Egypt himself for the crime of journalism). This has been one of the red herrings in this debate. The question of whether Assange is a journalist or not has no bearing on whether or not he can be prosecuted for publishing. Raising it (as the Trump administration has done) is evidence of an attempt to unduly politicize the question. Also, Greste writes, "Julian Assange did none of that" in relation to editing, contextualizing, and researching what he published. This simply isn't true, as Le Monde explained almost a decade ago. Walkinxyz (talk) 11:32, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
Peter Greste is a poster boy for Australian press freedom, having been imprisoned in Egypt for his reportage. If he says Assange is not a journalist, that is noteworthy. Maybe he's wrong. Maybe UFOs landed in Oz; maybe Bigfoot wore high heels; maybe Donald Trump is secretly a Muslim orang-utan brainwashed by North Korea. You're entitled to your opinions, but Wikipedia is based on sources and neutrality. It is clear there is a range of opinions on the topic, and news sources do not consistently call him a journalist. Since, as you rightly say, the issue of whether he is a journalist is legally irrelevant, why keep pursuing it against overwhelming evidence? What this really about? Bigfoot doesn't care.--Jack Upland (talk) 11:56, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
It's absolutely notable that he said it. And you're absolutely right that it also doesn't change the facts. The fact is that Assange is a journalist, and journalists are targeted around the world. But if politicians can get people to accept that someone isn't really a journalist, they have a political wedge to use against them. And then they can set a precedent: if Assange doesn't have press freedoms, neither does anyone else. Not because journalists have special protections relative to everyone else, but precisely because they don't. Glenn Greenwald explains this here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/05/28/indictment-assange-is-blueprint-making-journalists-into-felons/
I'm a Canadian, and I campaigned for the release of Greste and his colleagues, as well as for the release of John Greyson and Tarek Loubani while they were imprisoned in Egypt. Neither Greyson nor Loubani (who are also Canadians) are journalists, but they have the same rights as anyone else. Greyson is a filmmaker. I didn't try to argue that he is a journalist, because he isn't.
That people are questioning whether Assange is really a journalist seems to me purely a function of misguided or disingenuous political distortions, Greste's included. Or if not, they amount to aesthetic judgments, like someone might say "that's not really art" about something that hangs in an art gallery. What Greste said about the actual journalism, i.e., that Assange didn't edit, research or contextualize any of what he published, is false. What he said about press freedom is also false. This is an encyclopedia, and we don't admit falsehoods as facts. It matters to get those facts right, despite the politically-motivated distortions and personal/aesthetic judgements. That's what this is about.
You seem to be embracing a very fluid, relativist notion of truth here: some people say this, some people say that, so who can really know the truth about this man's occupation? There are plenty of opinions about Assange, and the most notable ones should be documented here. But he is also a journalist (and publisher, and dissident), and in a biography, that should be mentioned. It does a disservice to readers otherwise. Walkinxyz (talk) 12:36, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
You may be absolutely right that if politicians get people to accept that Assange isn't a journalist it puts our freedom of speech in jeopardy.  You may even be right that he is objectively a journalist, whatever that means, but this is not the place to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. Kolya Butternut (talk) 13:14, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
In the context of Wikipedia, objective can only mean verifiable based on reliable sources. Nothing I said about the wider context belongs in the article, but it may help us editors understand the subject we are writing about. I have been narrowly concerning myself with preserving the descriptor "journalist", which was here when I arrived. You don't have consensus to remove it, because it's well sourced and belongs in the article. That's not writing a great wrong, it's just good Wikipedia editing. -Walkinxyz (talk) 20:42, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
FYI, personally I think he is a journalist, but that is irrelevant.  Kolya Butternut (talk) 13:19, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/1133847992656715776
  2. ^ Walker, Peter (7 December 2016). "Julian Assange releases full testimony to Swedish prosecutors six years after rape allegation; Notorious Australian computer programmer, and founder of controversial Wikileaks, finally gives statement surrounding sexual assault claim". The Independent.
  3. ^ "Assange: Der richtige Krieg fängt gerade erst an". Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 19 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Julian Assange; Schweden hat Ermittlungen eingestellt". Wirtschaftswoche. 19 May 2017.
  5. ^ Coster, Alice (3 March 2018). "Off the Record". Herald Sun (Australia).
  6. ^ "WikiLeaks founder receives Kazakh journalists union's award". BBC Monitoring Central Asia Unit. 24 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Global Journals". The Australian. 8 June 2010.
  8. ^ "Secretive website WikiLeaks may be posting more U.S. military video". CNN. 21 June 2010.
  9. ^ Giordano, Chiara (17 April 2019). "Julian Assange evicted after smearing faeces on embassy walls, Ecuador president says; 'He exhausted our patience and pushed our tolerance to the limit'". The Independent.
  10. ^ . Belfast Telegraph. 7 December 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (1 August 2010). "No regrets: WikiLeaks chief damns his Afghan critics: To some, he's a sanctimonious hacker with blood on his hands. To others, he's an inspirational figure. After his WikiLeaks website disclosed tens of thousands of Afghan war documents, Julian Assange finds himself at the centre of a worldwide media storm - and he shows no sign of backing down: HISTORY OF A WHISTLEBLOWING WEBSITE". The Observer (London).
  12. ^ "Sweden's Supreme Court demands explanations from Swedish prosecutors on further investigation into Julian Assange's case". ITAR-TASS. 10 March 2015.
  13. ^ Sontheimer, Michael (21 November 2018). "Ecuadorian Embassy Sours on Julian Assange". SPIEGEL Online International. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  14. ^ Walker, Peter (7 December 2016). "Julian Assange releases full testimony to Swedish prosecutors six years after rape allegation; Notorious Australian computer programmer, and founder of controversial Wikileaks, finally gives statement surrounding sexual assault claim". The Independent (United Kingdom).
  15. ^ Mortimer, Caroline (5 February 2016). "Julian Assange makes rare appearance on embassy balcony calling for 'illegal, immoral, unethical detention' to end; Wikileaks founder said the parties responsible for his detention will face 'criminal consequences' if it continues". The Independent.
  16. ^ Jones, Sam (3 December 2010). "Julian Assange hails soldier accused of leaking US cables as 'unparalleled hero'". The Guardian.
  17. ^ Colvin, Marie (26 December 2010). "Accuser snapped me in the nude; Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, tells Marie Colvin he is baffled by the claims of sexual assault he is facing". The Sunday Times (London).
  18. ^ Mostrous, Alexi (4 August 2011). "'He eats when he's hungry, sleeps when he's tired. He's not a hugely domestic animal, but in a funny way no one really expects him to be'; In his first interview, Vaughan Smith, host to Julian Assange for nearly a year, speaks to Alexi Mostrous about his unexpected houseguest". The Times (London).
  19. ^ Vincent, Alice (17 July 2013). "The Fifth Estate: watch the first trailer; Watch the first official trailer for The Fifth Estate, the story of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch". The Telegraph.
  20. ^ "WikiLeaks under fire again". Canberra Times (Australia). 23 October 2010.
  21. ^ Colvin, Marie (26 December 2010). "WikiLeaks boss in £1m book deal". The Sunday Times (London).
  22. ^ "Key WikiLeaks people in court in US, Britain". Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 16 December 2011.
  23. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-02-03/julian-assange-and-the-journalism-defence/1928194
  24. ^ https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/112022868/julian-assange-is-not-a-journalist-his-arrest-is-not-an-attack-on-press-freedom

Having read all of the above, (24 hours well spent?) I see there is general consensus that he is not a journalist, however, there are some sources from reputable organisations that do call him this, some appear to be opinion pieces or bordering on opinion pieces, and some appear to be genuine news articles and if they have followed the principles, even if we think they may be somewhat unbalanced, must be "allowed", however I also note there is also sources from the very same organisations that do not call him this, that omission is not definitive and they must also be "allowed".

Looking at the manual of style and how it is applied to other BLP's we see some discrepancies and I think the overriding need of the encyclopedia state that he should be described by the most logical, notable and concise way as possible, that most people would recognise for each individual (as in Donald Trump way way above), I think the same applies here, the lead, descriptive sentence, should state one or two of his occupational descriptions 1. as most people that know the individual concerned, 2. in this case, 3. at this time, Assange is most noted for "co-foundering Wikileaks and avoiding arrest in the UK by seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy", and nothing else is anywhere near as relevant at his time His journalism, hacking etc can be covered later in the lead or article and the phraseology needs to state something like "while some sources believe Assange is a journalist and needs to receive the same protection afford to that industry, other dispute this both directly and in-directly" obviously adding one or two sources to each point that needs verifying.

Somewhat outside the scope of this discussion, but highly relevant going-forward, can we have a new article "Julian Assange Profile" (or similar), which pipes into any and all articles that requires this, that way we can have a stable agreed, sourced, concise mini article that would be highly readable, relevant and suitable for most browsers (people, not firefox IS etc.) of this article and not muddied or rehashed on other articles along these lines, we could also, and I can see the value in this,an article "JA timeline" (or similar) chronologically detailing each role he may have performed, also piped in to any relevant article, please extend as appropriate.

We can then apply this principle to any and all biographical subjects that have multiple articles with many layers or viewpoints that need to be rationalised and presented in the best possible way

I have deliberately placed the below the references as this is not a vote as such and more a solution to the totality of the above which appears to never have a chance of being resolved to complete satisfaction of all.

Thoughts The Original Filfi (talk) 01:52, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

I suggest you read WP:Consensus if you haven't already, and rethink your view. The reliable sources cited on this Talk page say that Assange is a journalist. There are no fact-based reliable sources stating the opposite, and there is definitely no consensus among the editors here that he isn't a journalist. Walkinxyz (talk) 03:38, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

Read the whole post before replying. 1. The majority have said he is not a journalist, hence I said "general consensus", 2. I addressed the sources 3. You cannot prove a negative, terrible argument. 4. I did not rule out "journalist" as a lead descriptor, just a solution to bring all article in to line. Do not address your personal views on any of these points. The fact that this will not be fully resolved as per my post stands true.

Please critique my methodology rather than re-hash the detail, a few Wikipedians bombarding this topic does not create a close contest, indeed my methodology allows this obviously contentious view to be addressed and published.

PLEASE ALL - keep all arguments and the continued repeating of the same points to the circular RFC above. Anyone that wishes to discuss this potential solution and methodology please feel free to do so.The Original Filfi (talk) 05:44, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

I must confess that I find your contribution above rather hard to follow, but I think I understand it better now. I asked you to read Wikipedia's policy on consensus because it doesn't matter what the majority of editors say. That's not what Wikipedia means by consensus. As for the rest of your suggestions, I think that any decent biographical article about a well known person should mention the person's occupation up front, not just what they are "known for" (currently, or otherwise). Britney Spears is "known for" her songs, albums, and videos, but that's not the first thing her Wikipedia article says about her. It says she is a "singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress." It doesn't say she is better known for her singing than her songwriting or acting, or that her being an actress is disputed because lots of articles about her don't mention the fact. Therefore, any description of Assange's occupation(s)/profession(s) that meets the notability and reliable source criteria of Wikipedia should probably be mentioned in the first sentence of the lede. These are basic facts about him as an individual that should be covered by any decent biographical article. A recap of major events that he is/was involved in can be mentioned later in the lede. Walkinxyz (talk) 10:50, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, The Original Filfi, for a well-considered response. People like you make me glad that I am involved in Wikipedia because you actually considered the issue. Thank you, thank you, thank you.--Jack Upland (talk) 11:17, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

I think we've heard enough, and the discussion is getting repetitive. @All participating editors, please be mindful of WP:BLUDGEON, and let the RfC run its course. — JFG talk 14:26, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

Maybe we could approach the issue differently. Assange defenders believe that his prosecution would be an attack on freedom of the press, which is protected under the First Amendment, while the Trump administration claims it does not because they argue that Assange is not a journalist. TFD (talk) 02:32, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

Known for revealing war crimes, human rights abuses, and corruption ?[edit]

I have just removed from the opening para the sentence "Wikileaks is an international organisation known for revealing war crimes, human rights abuses, and corruption." What follows this sentence is a list of the most notable early leaks, including the Manning ones which now 'opens' the description of what WL is.

The reasons for removing are several, firstly, I think it is clearer to "get to the meat" of the notable leaks, rather than to try to characterise what the leaks reveal. More specifically, I question what terms like 'war crimes' mean. Is this a reference to incidents like the Collateral Murder incident? Whatever any of us feels about that incident (personally I was deeply shocked by the video), it has not been established to have been a war crime. Nor is there anywhere in the article any mention of any war crimes which WL have revealed. Pretty much the same logic applies to corruption, if not to human rights abuses. An ancillary argument can also be made that WL is now equally known for its involvement in the Clinton/Democratic party leaks as the 'War on terror' ones. For all these reasons, and given that this is the Assange page, not the WL page, I think it is better to list and contextualise the notable leaks, not attempt to characterise them.

Given the contentious nature of the subject I am posting my reasons here. Pincrete (talk) 16:40, 30 May 2019 (UTC)

I support the removal. Just another example of the problems with the article. It's a very positive description of WikiLeaks, it doesn't reflect the body of the article, and it's out of date. It's even questionable to call WikiLeaks an "international organisation". We've been told it only had five full-time volunteers. I don't know about now. If I marry a foreigner, can I say I'm the second in command of an international organisation? I recently removed text from the same paragraph about Assange's philosophy, which also seemed promotional and out of date.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:44, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Why would you not emphasize the Manning leaks when they're the ones he's facing his major indictment for? And there is no question that Collateral Murder is an *alleged* war crime. Add that clarification and it's perfectly accurate.GPRamirez5 (talk) 19:21, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
The Manning leaks are currently mentioned in the first paragraph. I don't think we need to editorialise about them. The US indictments should be kept in perspective. We don't know what's going to happen. He may never be extradited to the USA. The other problem here is the idea that the introduction should be chronological (as discussed previously). It is OK for the later paragraphs to be chronological, but the opening paragraph (and especially the opening sentence) should deal with the entirety of what makes Assange notable. The opening sentence of the Trump article says he is President of the US. Then it says: "Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality". And this is generally how articles are written. It is wrong to say the opening sentence should be about the early stuff.--Jack Upland (talk) 20:21, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
The edit I made, 'gets to the meat' of the Manning, and other early leaks more immediately. What it was intended to avoid was "editorialising" about the nature of those leaks, prior to naming them. There is a full account on the 'Collateral Murder' article about who has alleged the incidents to be crimes, which I think is a better place than the opening para of this article. Pincrete (talk) 10:24, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
This will need correcting at some point. As the NYT said in 2011, Wikileaks was prominent by 2008, in part because it had been defended by a consortium of journalistic institutions against a legal challenge by a Swiss bank.[50] If you have rewording suggestions for your modification, I'll check back here before updating.🌿 SashiRolls t · c 16:08, 3 June 2019 (UTC)

There is a full account on the 'Collateral Murder' article about who has alleged the incidents to be crimes, which I think is a better place than the opening para of this article. Yes and there's no reason we can't simply insert the word "alleged" here as well, given that the "who" includes UN officers and renowned international lawyers. It isn't mutually exclusive.GPRamirez5 (talk) 11:01, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

Well, actually there is, and you have been given numerous reasons.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:37, 4 June 2019 (UTC)
...you have been given numerous reasons. Yes, and no good ones. Summarizing why things are notable is not the same as "editorializing". If there were no evidence of war crimes, corruption, and abuse, the leaks wouldn't be notable enough for a 10,000+ word article on their publisher. Government secrets are leaked everyday with far less controversy, but are allowed to slide because they're not incriminating. Often they are leaked by top officials themselves when the information advances their agenda. The allegations of government wrongdoing connected to the leaks are central to Assange's notability.GPRamirez5 (talk) 11:50, 4 June 2019 (UTC)

Text copied to page for Assange v Swedish Prosecution Authority[edit]

I have copied the following text from the Julian Assange page to the page for Assange v Swedish Prosecution Authority.

"In May 2019 Swedish Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson applied to have Assange detained as a prelude to the issue of a European arrest warrant and extradition to Sweden. The Uppsala District Court denied the request stating that the investigation did not require Assange's presence in Sweden. Persson said she intended issuing a European Investigation Order to interview Assange instead.[1]" Burrobert (talk) 03:59, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Coote, Darryl (4 June 2019). "Swedish court rejects request to detain Julian Assange". UPI. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
Please note the copy edit I made to that text in this article. Phrases such as "to the issue of a European arrest warrant" and "to interview Assange instead", as well as the slightly less awkward "she intended issuing" are not, to my mind, good English, with the middle phrase being possibly confusing (interviewing Assange rather than someone else?). Dhtwiki (talk) 09:05, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
I have moved this under "Extradition hearings". We should keep this article roughly chronological.--Jack Upland (talk) 19:50, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

Walkley Award for Most outstanding contribution to journalism[edit]

I recently added the following text to the article. It was removed with a reason that it was about Wikileaks, not Assange.

"In 2011 the Walkley Foundation awarded Wikileaks the Walkley Award for "Most outstanding contribution to journalism".[1]. It commended WikiLeaks and Assange for their "brave, determined and independent stand for freedom of speech and transparency that has empowered people all over the world"".

I explained in my edit that the citation mentioned Assange and that because the award was given to Wikileaks it was relevant in the Wikileaks section.

The Assange page currently contains many other statements that are about Wikileaks, not Assange. Here are a few:

"After the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks and asked allied nations for assistance".

"During the 2016 U.S. Democratic Party presidential primaries, WikiLeaks hosted emails sent or received by candidate Hillary Clinton from her private email server when she was Secretary of State. The U.S. Intelligence Community, as well as a Special Counsel investigation, concluded that the Russian government carried out a hacking campaign as part of broader efforts of interference in the 2016 United States elections".

"In 2018, twelve Russian intelligence officers, mostly affiliated with the GRU, were indicted on criminal charges by Special Counsel Robert Mueller; the indictment charges the Russians with carrying out the computer hacking and working with WikiLeaks and other organisations to spread the stolen documents".

Much of the WikiLeaks section.

"On 22 July 2016, WikiLeaks released emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) seemingly presenting ways to undercut Bernie Sanders and showing apparent favouritism towards Clinton, leading to the resignation of party chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz".

"According to Harvard political scientist Matthew Baum and College of the Canyons political scientist Phil Gussin, WikiLeaks strategically released emails related to the Clinton campaign whenever Clinton's lead expanded in the polls".

What do other editors think? Burrobert (talk) 06:27, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ "2011 Walkley Award winners". Walkley Foundation for Journalism. 2011. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
I think it is worthy of inclusion here.--Jack Upland (talk) 07:48, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

Past discussion: Talk:Julian Assange/Archive 15#Walkley Awards - False and misleading information (not very long) Richard-of-Earth (talk) 03:57, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

As Burrobert points out, the Walkley Award directly named Julian Assange, and he is the founder and long-time editor of WikiLeaks. If the argument is going to be made that WikiLeaks-related material that does not directly concern Assange should be removed from the article, then there is a lot of material that should go before an award that directly names Assange. For example, why are the GRU intelligence officers discussed in the lede, of all places? The connection of Mueller's indictments to WikiLeaks, let alone Assange, is tenuous, yet they're described in the lede in quite a bit of detail, while an award that directly names Assange is somehow not worthy of inclusion. -Thucydides411 (talk) 06:27, 19 June 2019 (UTC)