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Julian Assange Dancing Footage In Channel 4 Documentary Did Not Infringe Privacy, Ofcom Rules

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A complaint by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that a television show infringed his privacy by showing footage of him dancing in a nightclub has not been upheld by communications watchdog Ofcom.

The Australian, currently living inside Ecuador's embassy in London, complained about the More 4 show True Stories: WikiLeaks: Secrets And Lies, which tracked the history of the organisation and included interviews with Assange and people who have worked with him.

The show included one minute of footage of Assange, who faces arrest and extradition to Sweden over alleged sexual offences if he sets foot outside the building in Knightsbridge, dancing with commentary on the legal case played over it.

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Julian Assange's privacy complaint was not upheld after Channel 4 broadcast footage of him dancing

Assange told Ofcom the footage was broadcast without his consent and he had agreed to be filmed on the dancefloor only "on the basis that it would be for the filmmaker's personal use only".

In its evidence to the watchdog, Channel 4 said he "did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in relation to this footage" because it was filmed in a public place and the footage had already been shown "frequently" on television and online.

Ofcom said the complaint should not be upheld and ruled that Assange "did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy" in regard to the footage included in the show, which was broadcast on November 29 last year.

The freedom of information campaigner also complained he was "treated unjustly or unfairly" in the documentary.

He said the programme-makers "misrepresented to him" what it would focus on and who would be in it, but Channel 4 released emails to Ofcom that it said made clear Assange "was, in fact, given a detailed and accurate description of the programme as it evolved, including who would be likely to be featuring in it".

Assange also complained he had not been shown a preview of the show, but Channel 4 said he "did not at any stage" ask for one.

Channel 4 also dismissed as "fanciful" his claims that the documentary broadcast material that was "prejudicial" to his legal hearings.

Ofcom found Assange provided "his informed consent to appear in the programme" and "material facts were presented in a way that was not unfair" to him.

It also noted that "omitting certain facts or points raised by Assange did not create unfairness" and he was given "a timely and appropriate opportunity to respond".

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