AN angry protest by supporters of Julian Assange yesterday morning denounced a Tory government conference titled ‘Defend Media Freedom’.
Maxine Walker from the Julian Assange Defence Committee told News Line: ‘We are here because this is a fraudulent conference organised by the Foreign Office and hosted by Jeremy Hunt, who has already said he wants to extradite Julian Assange.
‘We are here to tell delegates there is no media freedom while Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are in prison.’
Assange supporter Kieron O’Reilly said: ‘It is beyond ironic that Jeremy Hunt is speaking at an event called Defend Media Freedom while at the same time they are imprisoning WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange.
‘He is now facing 17 charges under the US espionage act for practising journalism.
‘We are here to say the emperor has no clothes and that this event sponsored by the British government has no credibility.’
Journalist Dan Read from Sputnik news agency, who along with Russia Today, were banned from attending the Media Freedom conference came to support the protest.
He told News Line: ‘I sent my photo and letter from the editor to apply to attend the conference.
‘I was told my application was rejected and would receive an email to explain why.
‘The reason only said “Deny recommendation”.
‘I think it is very odd to tout yourself, like Hunt has, as a defender of media freedom and then to exclude outlets you don’t like.’
One of those attending the two-day global conference, Hathairat Phaholtap, had flown over from Thailand.
She told News Line: ‘I think Julian Assange should be released as soon as possible. He has told the truth to the world.
‘I did not know that Sputnik and RT news agency had been banned from this conference.’