Leveson Inquiry: Julian Assange likens coverage of him to that of the McCanns

 

Julian Assange has claimed he has suffered from inaccurate and negative media coverage "possibly on a scale not seen since the abuse of the McCanns".

The WikiLeaks founder criticised newspaper and magazine watchdog the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) for its handling of his complaints.

In a written statement to the Leveson Inquiry released today, Assange suggested that inaccurate reporting of his case had an impact on his battle against extradition to Sweden to face sex crime allegations.

He compared himself to Kate and Gerry McCann, who were the subject of many negative articles after Portuguese police temporarily made them "arguidos" or formal suspects in the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine in May 2007.

He wrote: "Those who have been the subject of ongoing, widespread inaccurate and negative media coverage - as I have, possibly on a scale not seen since the abuse of the McCanns - know that the harms created for individuals and small organisations or groups by a failure to maintain high ethical journalistic standards can be severe, consequential and almost insurmountable."

Assange said the PCC ruled it was "perfectly acceptable" to say he had been charged with rape when in fact he has only been accused of the offence.

He said in his statement: "The PCC's clear failure to enforce proper standards of accuracy and fairness - indeed, its reluctance to act and to adhere to its own guidelines because of the active case against me - comes at a time when, due to the number of other of our legal cases already in play and my grave personal circumstances under house arrest awaiting a Supreme Court extradition decision, my ability to achieve justice through libel actions at the moment when they are needed is severely curtailed."

He added: "Press falsehoods need to be disincentivised or they will flourish. Unfortunately, the Press Complaints Commission does not provide effective disincentives or corrective remedies for victims.

"Neither, in many cases, do the courts due to the expense of libel actions."

Assange, an Australian former computer hacker, made headlines around the world with revelations from secret US military files and diplomatic cables released by his controversial whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

He is waiting to hear the outcome of his appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, against being extradited to Sweden.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Social Media Account Writers

£12000 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This social media management pr...

Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor (Magazine Publishing) - Wimbledon - £23-26K

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor - Wimbledon...

Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publishing) - Wimbledon - £26-30K

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publish...

Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent