Speaking at a panel concerning the future of WikiLeaks and the effect the site has had on journalism hosted by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, the New York Times executive editor Bill Keller and Guardian editor in chief Alan Rusbridger both confirmed that they would stand behind WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange if he is prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Though the Guardian's relationship with Assange has soured somewhat, Rusbridger -- almost without hesitation -- said if Assange was brought to court, he would be "completely side-by-side with him in terms of defending him with respect to what he's done." He said Assange deserves the same protections given to journalists when it comes to publication of secret government documents.

Keller was initially a bit more reserved in his response. "I think the Times' lawyers would prefer I not declare what I'd do in a court of law," he said. "It's very hard to conceive of a prosecution of Julian Assange that wouldn't stretch the law in a way that would be applicable to us."

"Whatever anyone thinks of Julian Assange, certainly American journalists, and other journalists, should feel a sense of alarm at any legal action that tends to punish Assange for doing essentially what journalists do. That is to say, any use of the law to criminalize the publication of secrets," Keller said. "I think we do stand alongside him."

Read the full story at Mashable.

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