THE extradition hearing of multi-award-winning journalist and publisher Julian Assange has come to its final day; so, likewise, might our long-cherished freedom of the press be facing its own end, if his extradition is approved.

Assange created an organisation, Wikileaks, to allow whistleblowers worldwide to confidentially put evidence of governmental wrongdoing into the public domain. Most major media outlets globally, including The Herald, now reach out to whistleblowers in a similar way with a confidential drop point. Assange, though, has been persecuted for more than a decade for pioneering and performing exactly this journalistic function.

You are to be praised for reporting at least parts of the trial ("Trump wants to jail Assange to keep him quiet, extradition hearing told", The Herald, September 15). Now that it is ending, though, the truth is apparent in all its horror. Assange, if extradited, faces the rest of his life in solitary confinement – the likelihood, in all its brutality, has been discussed quite openly. All this, for the "crime" of publishing uncontested facts. For its part, the UK Government seems more than prepared politically to go along with the extradition, even though Assange’s journalism breached no UK law.

To add to the Kafkaesque nature of the proceedings, UK and global media outlets (with The Herald an honourable exception) have largely ignored the trial, even though it contains a mortal threat to all journalism that seeks to speak truth to power.

With most media and nearly all politicians silent, it is up to the citizenry, especially here in the UK where we have political jurisdiction over the extradition, to stand up for the principle of freedom of the press by demanding the UN-mandated release of the young 21st century’s most celebrated journalist. "Come All Ye, At Hame Wi’ Freedom" never rang out with more urgency.

Moray Grigor (Dr), Edinburgh EH14.


IN her letter today (October 1) complaining about a whole hour being lopped off our daily drinking time, Jill Stephenson suggests that 10pm "is quite an early hour of the evening".

Good grief! By 10 pm I will have been in bed for at least an hour and, hopefully, fast asleep.

I do my pub socialising between 4:30 pm and 6 pm, a much more civilised hour. I suggest she try it.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


I NOTE the recent mentions of words that are now endangered (Issue of the Day, The Herald September 30, and Letters, October 1). How can it be that in the era of The Donald and Boris, that the young don’t recognise a cad and bounder when they see one? A wally or two, preferring talking tosh and balderdash to the media, who haven’t swotted up on their respective briefs for yonks. And neither as minted as we were told. Oh well, back to brill golfing for Donald, with Boris hurkle-durkling with Dom at No 10.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


HAVING enjoyed your background piece "Best quips from debates over the years", The Herald, October 1), my thoughts turned to best post-election quips and US political consultant and strategist Dick Tuck’s concession on losing election to the California State Senate in 1966: “The people have spoken, the bastards.”

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.