Ithaka: The Fight to Free Assange review – there’s no better show about the WikiLeaks founder’s battle
Leading the fight … Julian Assange’s father John Shipton. Photograph: ITV
Does this documentary about Julian Assange’s struggle for freedom lack subtlety? Yes. But – for deeply troubling reasons made clear by this programme – it’s the best we have
Julian Assange was taken to Belmarsh Prison in April 2019, initially after being found guilty of breaching bail conditions. That he is still there is, however, due to his actions a decade earlier: as the founder of WikiLeaks, the Australian journalist enraged the US by publishing a slew of classified material, most famously an information dump in 2010 that revealed evidence of war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US wants to extradite Assange and try him on charges of espionage. Ithaka: The Fight to Free Assange opens in May 2019 and charts the first two years in his legal battle to resist.
With Assange himself out of reach, Ithaka follows the efforts of his family members, mainly his father, John Shipton, to apply pressure on his behalf. It fits the normal rhythms of a film about campaigning: news archive provides context and to-camera interviews intersperse scenes that are shot in transit between engagements, as phone calls are received delivering good – or more often bad – news.