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Wikileaks' chief Julian Assange will write a monthly column for Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet as part of his bid for Swedish legal protections. Assange met with Aftonbladet's Chief Director, Jan Helin, to discuss the upcoming role.  (Source: Aftonbladet)

One of the oldest tabloids, Aftonbladet was also among the first to jump online and remains one of the largest internet sites in Europe.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Tabloid has been running strong since 1830 -- was among first worldwide to adopt internet publishing

Embroiled in an international politics controversy and owner of one the internet's most divisive properties, what's a man to do?  Well, if you're Julian Assange, founder and chief of whistleblowing site Wikileaks, the answer is apparently "write for a tabloid".

The Australian native who rose to infamy as a hacker in the late 1980s and early 1990s, announced in a Saturday interview [Swedish] with Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet that he would be joining the staff.  A translation of the interview can be found here on Mathaba.

In the interview, when asked what is column will be about, Assange comments, "About press issues and about what's happening around the world. There might be some scoops."

Asked how frequently he will write, he replies, "Once a month."

Assange has worked with and written content for a number of high profile publications, including The New York Times (U.S. newspaper), The Guardian (British newspaper), and Der Spiegel (German magazine), but has never been a regular columnist.  Nonetheless he considers himself a standards bearer of the journalistic mantle, speaking at many press events about Wikileaks and whistleblowing journalism.

If one picked a tabloid to write for, they'd be hard pressed to find one more storied than Aftonbladet.  The publication was founded in 1830 by Lars Johan Hierta.  In its early days it was banned and renamed 26 times by Sweden's king before he finally gave up and consented to its publication.

The publication was among the first tabloids worldwide to jump online, making the transition in 1994.  It is consistently ranked among the top five Swedish websites in traffic, along with Swedish-founded torrent-giant The Pirate Bay.

There's a couple of potential reasons why Assange might pick to write for Aftonbladet other than merely a love for tabloid journalism.  Wikileaks operates a number of servers in Sweden and is currently seeking a license to get full journalistic protections.  An official column in Aftonbladet could help its case. 

Also, Wikileaks is reportedly very cash strapped and Assange's payments could offset his costly lifestyle, which features a great deal of travel.  Assange in the interview stated, "We need more money. We're getting more materials than we can handle today. We need to hire more help. We've received $1 million in donations so far this year but it's not enough."


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Go Go Wikileaks
By Vespasian on 8/16/2010 4:12:07 AM , Rating: 4
BOOO to the haters , Julian is doing a great job and i hope wikileaks will become as big as CNN.com in general trancparency is good for democracy and when dirty secrets get out things improve.As i think Obama said once the best desinfectant is sunlight :)




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