Julian Assange, co-founder of WikiLeaks, has been awarded the Sydney Peace Foundation’s Gold Medal for having shown “extraordinary courage” in his efforts to promote human rights.

Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation and founding Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, Professor Stuart Rees, said:

“By challenging centuries old practices of government secrecy and by championing people’s right to know, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange have created the potential for a new order in journalism and in the free flow of information. Instead of demonizing an Australian citizen who has broken no law, the Australian Government must stop shoring up Washington’s efforts to behave like a totalitarian state. The treatment of alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning confirms a US administration at odds with their commitment to universal human rights and intent on militaristic bullying.” 

It is the fourth time someone has been awarded the gold medal since the foundation was established 14 years ago. The other three who have received the medal is Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and the Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda.

WikiLeaks, among other things, is known to have released large amount of secret documents from the U.S. diplomatic corps.

(via DagensIT)