Julian Assange and press freedom

Sir, – Freedom of expression is probably the most valuable of civil rights, but it necessarily comes with limitations. These include libel and defamation, medical confidentiality, national security and, famously, shouting “fire” in a crowded building, among many.

Ultimately what the exceptions illustrate is that free expression entails responsibility toward the rights and welfare of others.

In defending Julian Assange's reputation, Jim Roche (Letters, December 27th) argues that the former is being "persecuted for exposing . . . facts that powerful political leaders don't want the public to know".

It is not possible to know that definitively, nor to characterise the actions of such people as anything other than wildly reckless.


Many of the files released by Mr Assange have contained more documents than they could possibly have read. The PlusD file from 2013 had 1.7 million intelligence reports in it. Other releases have contained millions of emails.

Divulging such volumes of unread information cannot be characterised as an ideology or strategy. It is simply reckless and risky behaviour. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.