US won’t prosecute media houses over WikiLeaks cables

The U.S. embassy on Tuesday said that while America was taking action against a man accused of providing...

Australian founder of whistleblowing website, 'WikiLeaks', Julian Assange

The U.S. embassy on Tuesday said that while America was taking action against a man accused of providing WikiLeaks with information, it would not go after media houses reporting on the confidential cables.

Embassy officials said the U.S. holds media freedom in high esteem and would only charge those who stole and released the documents.

These comments follow newspaper reports in South Africa on secret diplomatic cables that had not yet been published by the whistle-blowing site.

The U.S. embassy’s Elizabeth Trudeau said the country was only trying to bring those responsible for the leaks to book.

“We understand that once this information is out, that there is public interest in that,” she said. “The free press is one of the United States’ highest values.”

The suspect in custody in the U.S. was a defence department employee. Officials there hope he will implicate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.