Julian Assange

Assange is currently fighting extradition proceedings to Sweden over sexual assault allegations

Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA

The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint lodged against the New Statesman by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The complaint related to a review of Assange's so-called "unauthorised biography", which was ghost-written by journalist Andrew O'Hagan and published by Canongate last year against Assange's wishes.

The WikiLeaks founder, who is currently fighting extradition proceedings to Sweden over sexual assault allegations, claimed that a reference to "charges" against him in the review was inaccurate.

He said in his complaint that a preliminary investigation into the allegations was still underway and that he had not been charged with any offence under Swedish law.

The PCC acknowledged that there had been no formal charges, and that a claim Assange had been formally indicted would be a clear breach of clause 1 of the editors code (accuracy).

It ruled however that the reviewer, the Guardian's James Ball, had "alluded to 'charges' more generally".

"In the view of the commission, this conveyed to readers, accurately, that the complainant was being accused by Swedish prosecuting authorities of having committed the offences (and the prosecutors were seeking his extradition with a view to his potentially being tried for those offences)."

The commission ultimately rejected the complaint, ruling that it "could not establish that it was significantly inaccurate to refer, in general terms, to the existence of 'charges' against the complainant".

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