Julian Assange court
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court (Image: EPA/stringer)

The worsening health of Julian Assange, now moved to the health/hospital ward of Belmarsh Prison in London, would, you would think, surely concentrate the thoughts of those who practice journalism. For their own self-interest, if actual commitment is beyond them.

Assange was charged with multiple counts of espionage and related crimes, under the US Espionage Act a few days after a reliably compliant Australian government was re-elected. The new charges follow the minor charge of illegal computer access, based on alleged assistance to whistleblower Chelsea Manning in obtaining the huge "Cablegate" files. That carried a five-year term. The new charges add up to 170 years in prison.