In a keynote speech held in Brasilia, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defended freedom of expression and declared his solidarity with the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, arrested in England on Tuesday. In Lula’s opinion, the site WikiLeads lays bare a diplomacy that seems to be incomprehensible. The Brazilian president said that he is against the arrest of Assange and not he (Assange) was to blame for what is happening, but rather those that produced the documents.
Lula, who is well-known for criticizing the media and of whom is often said to be a supporter of censoring the press, stipulated the importance of the media.
“We owe much to the press. Sometimes I criticize them and then they say, “Lula is criticizing the media.” No. I’m just warning. What I think is strange, is that the boy who is laying bare American diplomacy … how is that called? The WikiLeaks there … The boy was arrested and I’m not seeing any protest from the media in regard to freedom of expression.”
Speaking about Assange, Lula said he was “laying bare the inane work that some ambassadors have done.”
And continued to say: “I don’t know if these are my ambassadors’ telegrams. But, look, Dilma (Dilma Rousseff, his successor as of Jan 2011) needs to know and speak with her minister (Foreign Affairs). If you have nothing to write, don’t write nonsense”, he said, referring to reports from American diplomats who, in some cases were limited to expressing insignificant details, such as if a president dresses well or not or if he is participating in parties.
The president also questioned the fact that there haven’t been a “protest vote” (in the media) after the arrest of the founder of WikiLeaks. Lula said that the culprit is not who released the documents, but “who wrote that silliness because, otherwise, there wouldn’t have been a scandal”:
“Apparently WikiLeaks, laid bare to the rest of the world, diplomacy that seemed unattainable, and then there begins a search to arrest him. I don’t know whether they put up posters as they did at the time of the Wild West, like: “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Then they arrested the boy and I haven’t seen one protest vote of the media. Oh, Stuckinha (Ricardo Stucker, official photographer of the President), now can put on the government blog the first protest against freedom of expression on the internet so we could protest that the guy was just publishing what he read, Lula said, “Well, to WikiLeaks, my solidarity for the disclosure of things and my protest against freedom of expression.”
See the video of the speech: