Hero or Villain: The Prosecution of Julian Assange

2019, Crime  -   10 Comments
7.10
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Ratings: 7.10/10 from 30 users.

Is Julian Assange a free speech martyr or a narcissist with a thirst for chaos? Few figures in the 21st century have inspired more fury or worship in equal measure. Through his WikiLeaks platform, he's unapologetically unleashed volumes of private government and corporate data under the banner of public interest. He's a self-proclaimed crusader, an uncontrollable megalomaniac, a modern day cyber celebrity, and a figure who stands firmly in the crosshairs of those in power. ABC News Australia attempts to unravel his complicated legacy in the absorbing documentary Hero or Villain: The Prosecution of Julian Assange.

The film lands in the midst of a new chapter in the Assange saga as he faces a slew of fresh charges under the Espionage Act and fights extradition to the United States. Does his arrest represent a victory for believers in justice, or a blow to the sanctity of journalism?

In 2010, Assange and WikiLeaks came into prominence with their unveiling of classified United States military footage depicting the murder of a dozen people in Baghdad from a stealth Apache helicopter. Following this leak, an international debate ensued that continues to persist to this day.

The filmmakers encapsulate this event and much more that has occurred in its wake, including the relationships between Assange and his sources, the risks versus rewards of his whistleblowing efforts, his strenuous collaborations with mainstay media outlets, and how he has challenged the limits of journalistic integrity in the modern digital age.

Far from a dry retelling of widely circulated headlines, the film benefits from the perspectives of figures who knew Assange best. WikiLeaks co-workers share their personal insights on the enigmatic ring leader, and take viewers behind the curtain for many of the key actions that have molded his controversial image in the public consciousness.

Conversely, the film also offers the opposing view from critics who claim Assange's efforts crossed a line that placed lives at risk. "There was real harm to real people as a result of what WikiLeaks did," says one.

Hero or Villain: The Prosecution of Julian Assange is an excellent primer on this multi-layered scandal.

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10 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Chris

    Not the word collaborators. Don't know bout u but I know what that word is usually used to describe. Tells u all u need to know bout this doc.

    1. Chris

      & what the hell is an information anarchist? People things come up with to justify their weakness.

  2. Chris

    This is aimed at The Guardian readers & it's why they get piss taken out of them. They want to moan a lot but when it comes to actually doing something they don't have the stones. Assange gave up his life, not literally - yet, to show how disgusting our way of life is. I'm not critising that. If u blindly do off killing & your only justificatio is cause someone told me too, I don't have much sympathy then either. If your happy with the morals our society is based on then u are morally corrupt. Maybe if we sorted ourselves out we wouldn't be hated by so many.

    1. Chris

      & to the army generals who suddenly pretend they give adamn bout lose of human life. Give ur answers, morals & way of life a good think. Is it only ok for people to die when u say so?

  3. rick

    hearsay means nothing in the uk court of law..american law was based on uk law but has been twisted alot over time...so my question is how can a person be persecuted like this when everything printed was the truth...and it was sent to him to be shown to the general public...no government is above the ppl we are the same and have to be told to stop sh*t like this happening behind our backs...we pay there wages we are the bosses not them...time to reel them in and make things more out in open i think.

  4. Rudi

    He's definitely a hero. The world should know the dirty games politicians play. They're the ones that put people's life at risk, not Assange.

  5. Sunbird

    It's a shame they're only preaching to the choir.

  6. U

    Calling this man a villain says that you side with corruption, human rights violations, genocide, and imperial rule. Julian Assange is a hero. Fight US corruption

  7. Bill Farley

    The only reason Julian Assange has inspired fury is because the United States is totally involved in globally nefarious deeds under the label "in the national interest." Internationally the USA needs to be brought to heel as they too create chaos and destruction around the world. Let's face it, they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar and they don't like. Too bad.

    1. GunnarInLA

      ...could not agree more...and if you had written even more specifically damning aspects of US behavior I would have agreed with that as well....there are no words that are strong enough to adequately depict the demonic presence that is the US of today (and yesterday)...criminality is the name of the game and not all people are "ok" with that...