The campaign reached a fever pitch following Ecuador’s decision to grant the dissident journalist asylum on August 16. Commentators used the opportunity to stick the boot into both Ecuador and Assange.
Peter Hartcher, the political editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, headlined his August 21 attack: “Hypocrisy ends hero’s freedom to preach.”
Assange was previously a “principled and plucky champion of freedom of speech”, Hartcher said, but “the moment Assange decided to seek shelter in Ecuador … he betrayed the principles he claimed to represent …
“Why? Because Ecuador, under its President of the last five years, Rafael Correa, has become one of the world’s leading oppressors of free speech.”