In brief: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been kept within the Ecuadorian embassy without outside communication since March of this year. Since this affects his ability to act as WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, he has appointed someone to replace him, although he will remain publisher.
WikiLeaks has replaced Julian Assange as editor-in-chief. Assange has not been able to perform his duties since the Ecuadorian embassy cut off his communication. With no way to execute his obligations, Assange appointed Kristinn Hrafnsson, an Icelandic investigative journalist and legal project manager for WikiLeaks. He will still remain with the company with the title “publisher,” although he will not be actively participating in running the outlet.
Hrafnsson is honored to take the reins but rebuked the embassy’s actions in a statement.
“I condemn the treatment of Julian Assange that leads to my new role, but I welcome the responsibility to secure the continuation of the important work based on WikiLeaks ideals.”
The new leadership will not likely change the day-to-day operations. Assange has been incommunicado since March. The appointment of Hrafnsson is more of a formality, and he intends to keep the company on an even keel.
That is not to say that the new EIC will not have his work cut out for him. WikiLeaks is currently facing a lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Committee alleging that it worked with Russia in releasing supposedly hacked information from DNC servers during the 2016 presidential election. The US Department of Justice has also issued indictments of at least 12 Russian intelligence officials who allegedly had contact with WikiLeaks.
It is unclear if Assange will return to his former role when and if he leaves the embassy.