Wikileaks

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WikiLeaks was officially launched in 2007. It is a not-for-profit media organisation and their goal is to bring important news and information to the public (Wikileaks 2012). WikiLeaks (2012) also mentioned that they has sustained and triumphed against legal and political attacks designed to silence their publishing organisation, journalists and anonymous sources. It further explained that they has combined high-end security technologies with journalism and ethical principles and they accept anonymous sources of information. Wikileaks aim to create a better society for all people.

According to Benkler (2011), Wikileaks became the center of an international storm surrounding the role of the individual in the networked public sphere after its first document released. Wikileaks’s importance is showing that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, this is why the accept anonymous sources. However, Wikileaks will investigate all the anonymous sources before they publish. The emerging of wikileaks may well impose serious collateral damage on some citizen journalists (Benkler 2011).

THE PROVOCATION: WIKILEAKS EMERGES AS A NEW ELEMENT OF THE FOURTH ESTATE

A. 2006-2009: Award-winning site exposing corruption and abuse around the world

Wikileaks is the winner of  Economist Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression award (2008) and Amnesty International human rights reporting award (New Media) (2009). Wikileaks was an organization that seems to have functioned very much as it described itself: a place where documents that shed light on powerful governments or corporations anywhere in the world, or, in the case of the climate scientists’ emails, on a matter of enormous global public concern, could be aired publicly. The pattern of Wikileaks releasing information relating to a range of very different countries (Benkler 2011).

B. March 2010: Leaking the 2008 Pentagon Report on the threat of Wikileaks

Wikileaks released a 2008 Pentagon report arguing that Wikileaks is a threat, while recognizing the site as a source of investigative journalism critical of U.S. military procurement and its conduct in war. The Pentagon report provides significant insight into what Wikileaks was doing by 2008, and why the military was concerned about it. The 2008 Pentagon Report, then, sees Wikileaks as a journalistic organization whose structure and organization make it dangerous to the U.S. military. Wikileaks.org uses trust as a center of gravity by assuring insiders, leakers, and whistleblowers who pass information to Wikileaks.org personnel or who post information to the Web site that they will remain anonymous (Benkler 2011).

C. April-October 2010:Collateral Murder, Afghanistan, and Iraq

April 2010 marked the beginning of a series of four releases of documents embarrassing to the United States government. In July 2010, Wikileaks released a new cache of documents; these were war logs from the field in Afghanistan. In October, Wikileaks added one more major release. It consisted of war logs similar to those released in July, this time pertaining to the Iraq war. Benkler (2011) mentioned that Wikileaks posted close to 400,000 field reports from Iraq in what the BBC described as “a heavily censored form.” BBC news (2010) stated that the site released almost 400,000 secret US military logs detailing its operations in Iraq in October.

D. The Last Straw: The Embassy Cables

Another document was released on November 28 and it was more careful and selective than any of the prior releases. The release of the final batch was followed by a massive escalation of attacks on Wikileaks as an organization and website, and on Assange as an individual. It is the mismatch between what Wikileaks in fact did in this final round and the multi-system attack on it that drives the need for a deeper explanation.

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References:

BBC news 2010, What is Wikileaks?, accessed 27/10/2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10757263

Benkler, Y 2011, A free irresponsible press: Wikileaks and the battle over the soul of the networked fourth estate, accessed 27/10/2012, http://www.benkler.org/Benkler_Wikileaks_current.pdf

Wikileaks 2012, About, accessed 27/10/2012, http://wikileaks.org/About.html

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7 thoughts on “Wikileaks

  1. Remember the phrase “what we dont know wont kill us”? Well, that is probably the reason why governments choose to hide such information, as they find it unecessary for the public to know. However, some government secrets have the capability to bring governments down, which means it shouldnt be a secret. This is probably why Wikileaks does what it does. Personally, I agree because it seems like the only way to ensure that ethics will remain in our governments is by revealing these truths, because the only reason bad things are a consequence of the truth is because the truth is ugly and something wrong is going on. Hence, to keep things right in the world i believe “the truth shall set us free”.

  2. I agree with your opinion of Wikileaks. It provides a reasonably accurate source of information. People today are capable of voicing out their opinions towards how certain organisations conduct their business, thanks to Wikileaks. It appears to serve the public by enabling whistle-blowers to reveal the truth about any government or their agencies, as well as large corporations which in the past have been able to get away with almost any misdeeds. However, this could be a double-edged sword. National security could be jeopardised if state secrets are revealed, all in the name of freedom of speech. – commented By Ram Peow Loong Naidu

  3. Wikileaks has its purpose and it is hardly to do judgement based on either it is true or false for Wikileaks released all the secret information to public. However I believe Wikileaks is just purely to create awareness to the public and not being in the sense of causing war.

  4. In my opinion, I believes that the existence of Wikileaks is not so important to the citizens itself. To me, truths are not always the solution to a problem, instead it might create more problems. Indeed that as a US citizen, they have the rights to know the truth about their country but some truth are meant to keep it as a secret for everyone’s’ beneficial. For an example, if you were in trouble or struggling in life, would your friends come and tell you that everything is not going to be alright? No because sometimes we kept it and lie for a better purpose. Indeed that now people agree with the existence of Wikileaks but if such a classified information were to leaked around the world, don’t they should be worry more on their safety? To me, I strongly disagree with the existence of Wikileaks because this can cause the invasion of troubles to the country. For an example, you might allow your family members or some of your friends know your Facebook password but would you like it if someone posted your password to the whole world? That’s invasion of privacy and I don’t see the purpose of doing it.

  5. Wikileaks somehow surpirse us. There are definitely many more secrets that the citizen do not know about the country. For instance, we might not know if the sum of money taken from the fund of the country is used for good or was it taken by the government themselves. To a certain point, it is good that we will know certain secrets. But I believe certain secrets are better kept as it is. Because we might not know that maybe certain secret may bring us more bad than good.

  6. It is no surprised that Wikileaks caught the centre of attention by the world when they revealed many information that is deemed as highly classified by the government, especially the US government. It acts like a forum amongst hackers to display their skills of hacking and showing it to the cyberworld. But Wikileaks is not made up of a bunch of nerds whom just enjoys hacking and ruining the world like how the public stereotyped hackers to be. They do investigations to ensure that the information is verified before being published in the website.

  7. Transparency is generally a good thing, and in this case if these leaks make us think twice before jumping into a needless war again, the good could outweigh the bad.

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