History shows us that one of the answers to the end of wars and peacekeeping is democracy. We value democratic institutions as well as our right to check, control and criticize them. This distinguishes democracy from the authoritarian regimes of secrecy and oppression of those who speak up.
At the time of the information revolution, the definition of a journalist is undergoing rapid changes. It is all the more important that democratic institutions find today’s definition and show that they are not afraid of public scrutiny.
Assange is a publisher of truthful, newsworthy information in the public interest, and this is a general definition of a journalist which must endure all changes. This definition sees journalism as a force that does not want to give the government a veto over what citizens should know and what should remain secret.
Assange revealed serious offenses, including war crimes. Without him the public would not know about them. Despite the risks, he published information that helped unleash the Arab Spring. He moved the debate on the legitimacy of foreign intervention, not only in the United States. And he brought the WikiLeaks platform to life, giving a voice to those who until then had been afraid to talk about the evil they had encountered.
We, who nominate Julian Assange for the Nobel Peace Prize, do not want to give this man a halo. On the contrary, we see an opportunity to show that the principles we can stand for as a society are greater than human shortcomings.
If Assange is appreciated, brave citizens around the world will receive a sign that they do not have to be afraid to speak if they witness iniquity, that it is right and that humanity respects their act.
Assange is not the hero of the freedom of speech we have chosen, but who has been chosen for us by those who fear freedom of speech. That is why it is in everyone's interest to defend it today. And to give him a signal in his most difficult moments that he was doing the right thing.