Assange awarded peace medalWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been awarded Australia's only international prize for peace, for championing freedom of information.BY Rachael Brown for ABC | May 11, 2011
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been given a peace award for what has been described as "exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights".
The award from the Sydney Peace Foundation is Australia's only international prize for peace.
The foundation has praised Mr Assange and WikiLeaks, saying they have brought about a watershed in journalism, freedom of information and potentially in politics.
Mr Assange, who is fighting extradition from Britain to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, was praised for "challenging centuries-old practices of government secrecy and by championing people's right to know".
Foundation director Stuart Rees says the award was also motivated by the cowardice of the Australian Government.
"We think the struggle for peace with justice inevitably involves conflict, inevitably involves controversy," he said.
"We think that you and WikiLeaks have brought about what we think is a watershed in journalism and in freedom of information and potentially in politics."
In its 14-year history, only three other people have won the foundation's gold medal for courage in the pursuit of human rights - the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda.
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