The note echoes in parts an open letter sent to PM Gillard—who has walked back a statement in which she called WikiLeaks’ actions “illegal” but who has not made any supportive statements of the country’s most hunted citizen—by various academics, artists, and activists on December 7. In many ways, the new letter could be more powerful and persuasive than that letter, and even the one sent by the Columbia faculty members, because it represents such a united front. Every corner of the Australian media landscape is covered here, and the PM, whose honeymoon period was blip-length following her rise to power in a June leadership challenge and her artless fumbling through the August election, would be wary of putting the press further offside.

It will be interesting to see if a similar move is made on this side of the Pacific.

*Note: The Sydney Morning Herald began publishing the “Canberra Cables” last week. Reporter Philip Dorling has an interesting piece on how he came to obtain the papers from the once elusive Assange, with links to the paper’s full WikiLeaks coverage.

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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.