Melbourne: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
has been awarded the Sydney Peace Foundation`s Gold Medal for
"exceptional courage in the pursuit of human rights".
According to a Foundation statement today, veteran
Australian broadcaster Mary Kostakidis praised WikLeaks as an
"ingenious and heroic website that has shifted the power
balance between citizen and the state by exposing what
governments really get up to in name".
Acknowledging that "exposing secrets can be dangerous
business", Kostakidis thanked Assange for his "heroic courage"
as a whistleblower to take "great risks for our benefit".
In accepting the Gold Medal, Assange said, "The real
value of this award, and the Sydney Peace Foundation is that
it makes explicit the link between peace and justice.
It does not take the safe feel good option of shunning
controversy by uttering platitudes.
Instead it goes into difficult terrain by identifying
organisations and individuals who are directly engaged in
struggles of one kind or another," he said.
Although the Peace Prize is awarded annually by the
foundation only three other people in its 14-year history have
been awarded the gold award for courage in pursuit of human
rights, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Japanese Buddhist
leader Daisaku Ikeda.
Whistleblowing website, WikiLeaks founded by Assange
published thousands of cables in which US diplomats gave their
often candid views on world leaders, to Washington`s acute