Julian Assange and his organisation WikiLeaks have won a Walkley Award for their role in releasing controversial leaks such as the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs and the game-changing US State Department Diplomatic Cables.
The site won the “Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism” award.
“This year’s winner has shown a courageous and controversial commitment to the finest traditions of journalism: justice through transparency,” the judges wrote. “Its revelations, from the way the war on terror was being waged, to diplomatic bastardry, high-level horse-trading and the interference in the domestic affairs of nations, have had an undeniable impact.”
“While not without flaws, the Walkley Trustees believe that by designing and constructing a means to encourage whistleblowers, WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange took a brave, determined and independent stand for freedom of speech and transparency that has empowered people all over the world.”
Assange accepted the award in a pre-recorded acceptance speech, and was particularly scathing towards Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
“The Gillard government has shown its true colours in relation to how it’s handled US pressure on WikiLeaks,” he told the crowd of journalists. “Australian journalists are courageous, the Australian population is supportive, but Julia Gillard is a cowardly Australian Prime Minister.”
He also thanked the foundation for their commitment to journalism.
“… I want to thank you, and The Walkley Foundation, for showing these values as journalists and as Australians and standing by WikiLeaks in our hour of need, not in five years time, but today, when it counts,” he said.