NI Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire collects journalism award on behalf of Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been given an award established in honour of an assassinated journalist.

Assange, jailed in England last week after being forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, was awarded the 2019 GUE/NGL Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers & Defenders of the Right to Information.

It is sponsored by European parliamentarians after being established in 2018 in honour of assassinated Maltese journalist Daphne Galizia.

The award is given to individuals "uncovering the truth and exposing it to the public" and to honour "individuals or groups who have been intimidated and/or persecuted for uncovering the truth and exposing it to the public".

Nobel Peace prize winner Mairead Maguire, from Belfast, collected the award on Assange's behalf at an event in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

File photo of Mairead Maguire.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor, said: "Through WikiLeaks Julian Assange's vision of transparency has revolutionalised journalism.

"His imprisonment and threatened extradition to the United States has drawn a sharp line in the sand. You are either encouraging the crackdown on media freedom or you are standing with Julian Assange."

Last year the Galizia prize was jointly awarded to murdered Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and LuxLeaks whistleblower Raphael Halet.

Assange had lived inside the embassy for almost seven years before his diplomatic asylum was revoked.

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