Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Comment Is Free: The Case Against Wikileaks.

Hacker not journalist.

Wikileaks editor in chief Julian Assange coins himself "an investigative journalist" in the latest BBC interview from his bail address. Assange has essentially no journalism background prior to Wikileaks. A former hacker, he falls foul to US vice president Joe Biden's colourful description "hi-tech terrorist". 

A social minority class of nomadic, hi-tech freedom fighters has been breeding since the internet dawned.  The class is scorned by the high public office types.

“Hell, I wouldn’t prosecute the Times.  My view is to prosecute the Goddamn pricks that gave it to ‘em."  as leaked from Nikon sums up the US government on Wikileaks as well.

While Julian Assange merely waits on the other end of his anonymous "drop box" , the sources themselves deserve the bulk of credit due for the final publication appearing in world newspapers. Wikileaks dabbles in news writing, converting the Diplomatic Cables for example into a 300 or so word news story. The bulk of journalistic analysis and license is provided by The Guardian, New York Times, Al-Jazeera, begging the question of why Wikileaks is needed as a middle man: source-Wikileaks-newspaper has in the past been source-newspaper.

Its also looking likely on balance that the Afghanistan, Iraq and Diplomatic Cable releases all came from only one source-Bradley Manning, who is paying a heavy cost.  Also how do we exactly define Wikileaks: "Whistleblower", "News"  and "Journalistic tool" are three quoted options.
Before online publishing platform went live it was forseen to be a  useful aid to journalists.

Steven Aftergood, director of the Project of Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists said at the time "I just think they're naive. They have a very idealistic view of the nature of leaking and its impact. They seem to think that most leakers are crusading do-gooders who are single-handedly battling one evil empire or another."

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