WikiLeaks chief: I've made 75 press complaints

Published April 5, 2012 8:36PM (EDT)

LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange said Thursday he had made 75 official complaints over what he described as shoddy reporting on his long-running extradition battle.

Online activist Assange itemized the complaints in a submission to Britain's judge-led inquiry into media ethics, which is examining the standards and practices of the country's scandal-tarred press.

He said in a statement published by the inquiry Thursday that he had been subjected to "ongoing, widespread inaccurate and negative media coverage" and that Britain's press watchdog had failed to protect him.

Assange has had a tumultuous relationship with many in the mainstream media, particularly The New York Times and Britain's Guardian newspaper, to which he leaked a mass of confidential U.S. secret documents before releasing them online.

He's accused many journalists of lazy, inaccurate reporting and of being complicit with authority figures. Unflattering profiles in the media have in turn depicted the former computer hacker as imperious and arrogant.

The 75 complaints listed by Assange related to articles suggesting that he'd been charged with sex crimes in Sweden, which is seeking his extradition.

While Assange is accused of sex misconduct, he has not been charged. The 40-year-old Australian denies any wrongdoing.

WikiLeaks said later Thursday that it had made an additional seven complaints over other alleged inaccuracies, bringing the total to 82.

The British media inquiry, headed by Lord Justice Brian Leveson, is putting the spotlight on press misbehavior following the eruption of the scandal over the shuttered News of the World, where journalists routinely broke the law to get stories. Many of the inquiry's witnesses have attacked Britain's Press Complaints Commission as toothless and ineffective.

The much-criticized body is in the process of shutting down to be replaced by a new regulator.



Assange's statement:

By Salon Staff

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