WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange hit out at the mainstream media last night, attempting to discredit reports about negligence, infighting and funding irregularities at the whistleblower.

Assange dismissed recent reports of resignations and disquiet within the organisation, following the publication in July of a huge archive of secret US military files relating to the war in Afghanistan, as "another absolute lie".

He acknowledged that 32-year-old WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg had been suspended but disputed that he had resigned, despite Domscheit-Berg telling German newspaper Der Spiegel that he was leaving the organisation and accusing Assange of "acting as the prosecutor, judge and hangman in one person". In the Spiegel piece, the former WikiLeaks spokesman says Assange had "reacted to any criticism with the allegation that I was disobedient to him and disloyal to the project".

Speaking in a debate at London's City University alongside broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby and Times columnist David Aaronovitch, Assange refused to be drawn on the matter, saying simply that Domscheit-Berg's suspension was "about a different issue".

The WikiLeaks founder hit out at Wired magazine, which alleged in an article earlier this week that at least "half a dozen WikiLeaks staffers have tendered their resignations in recent weeks".

Wired also published an instant messenger exchange reportedly between Assange and Domscheit-Berg, in which the spokesman was suspended, and criticism of Assange's management from another WikiLeaks team member.

Assange responded last night, saying that "particular people at Wired magazine are involved a long-standing fight with us, where they were involved with the FBI and US Army CID (Criminal Investigation Command) in bringing one of our alleged sources, Manning, who is now in prison in Quantico, into prison. It is not just the public's right to knowledge that is important; it is the public's right to understand what is false".

Assange accused the Times of inaccuracy over a story from a July edition of the newspaper, which he produced in the debate, which claimed that an Afghan informant had died as a result of the publication of the Afghan war logs. He also countered reports that WikiLeaks had been condemned by Amnesty International over the Afghan war logs, saying that these reports were the result of a scam involving the Wall Street Journal and were based on "an absolute lie".

Assange similarly criticised the Huffington Post for alleging that WikiLeaks had received $20 million in funding from the Chinese government. He hit back at Guardian reporter Nick Davies who last week, speaking at a Frontline Club event, said that WikiLeaks' process of redaction involved "a kind of word search through these 92,000 documents looking for words like source or human intelligence (...) it's a very inefficient way of making those documents safe and I'm worried about what's been put up on there".

It was Davies who first persuaded Assange to work with mainstream media organisations on the Afghanistan documents and worked closely with him on the Guardian's publication of extracts. "Nick Davies is wrong," responded Assange. "Nick Davies doesn't know. I'm not going to criticise Nick anymore, because we have an ongoing working relationship, but he should talk to me (...) before making such comments."

Speaking after the event, Assange refused to say whether he was working with anyone from the Guardian on the upcoming release of almost 400,000 documents relating to the war in Iraq. He did confirm that WikiLeaks was working with media organisations internationally to prepare the documents.

"We are involved with a number of press organisations and none of those relationships have been adversely affected by recent controversy," he said.

The New York Times, which also partnered WikiLeaks for its Afghan release, has also voiced criticism about the organisation's handling of the information. In an email to the Daily Beast in July, New York Times editor Bill Keller said of Assange: "His decision to release the data to everyone, however, had potential consequences that I think anyone, regardless of how he views the war, would find regrettable."

Questioned last night by Aaronovitch on WikiLeaks' accountability and the security precautions they take before publishing leaked documents, Assange defended WikiLeaks' approach: "[O]f course we considered that [security]. We put in a process of dealing with that. We took away one in five documents prior to the release (...) That doesn't mean the process is infallible.

"We are an organisation with limited resources and the Pentagon wasn't going to help us. The Guardian, Der Spiegel and the New York Times with vastly great resources made no assistance, so we've taken a harm minimisation approach, that is, to do the best effort we can."

"In trying to achieve justice, we are not scared to be criticised," he added. "We are not scared to make mistakes."

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).