What happens to Assange will be one of the biggest test cases for press freedoms in America ever. At stake? The ability of all journalists to inform the public of things the government wants to withhold.
But this has been largely ignored because Assange, once a darling of the progressive activist press, is now regarded as a hero-turned-zero, mostly because of Wikileaks’ role in publishing hacked emails that proved damaging to the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign ahead of the 2016 elections.
… [D]espite [the] widespread practice [of prosecuting faithless sources, but not journalists], there is no law rendering journalists immune from the same national security charges that their sources go to jail for violating. There is no explicit protection against espionage charges written between the lines of the First Amendment. It’s all based on at best an unspoken agreement to not prosecute journalists for revealing classified data. And it’s coming to a head now with the government’s efforts to nail Julian Assange.
Peter Van Buren, You Don’t Have to Love Assange to Fear His Prosecution