Relatively unknown 12 months ago, a household name today. It’s no surprise that Julian Assange took out Crikey‘s Person of the Year with such a whopping margin (he polled 38.6% more than the second-placed Bob Brown, whose Greens party also had a big 2010).
Even before he started drip feeding confidential US government cables last month, the Townsville-born whistleblower gained notoriety for leaking information powerful people wanted kept secret. From the release of the infamous “collateral murder” video in April (viewed more than 10 million times) to the massive dump of confidential Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, Assange has had a pretty big 12 months, it’s fair to say.
The enigmatic, elusive WikiLeaks founder is now fighting extradition to Sweden on s-xual assault allegations, while the US government is looking for ways to prosecute him plus stop him leaking more sensitive government documents. Whatever the outcome of the claims leveled against him, Assange has vowed to continue his pursuit of freedom of information.
An enemy of the state and a champion of democracy, some say he has changed the media landscape forever. One thing is for sure, we’ll be hearing more from Julian Assange in 2011.