What is WikiLeaks?
WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit media organisation. Their goal is to bring important news and information to the public. WikiLeaks provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to their journalists. One of the most important activities of WikiLeaks is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth (Wikileaks n.d).
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks to demonstrators from the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral in central London on Oct. 15, 2011.
History of WikiLeaks:
Dec. 2007: WikiLeaks officially launches its website.
Sept. 2008: Anonymous hacks Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s Yahoo account during the presidential campaign. Her emails are then published by WikiLeaks.
April 2010: WikiLeaks publishes video of a 2007 helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists.
May 2010: US Army soldier Bradley Manning is arrested on suspicion of providing WikiLeaks with classified material.
July 2010: WikiLeaks publishes 91,000 documents on US involvement in Afghanistan.
Aug. 2010: Sweden issues an arrest warrant for Assange on one rape allegation and one allegation of molestation.
Oct. 2010: WikiLeaks publishes the Iraq War logs, 400,000 classified US documents on the Iraq war from 2004 to 2009.
Dec. 2010: Interpol puts Assange on its most-wanted list, citing rape allegations. Paypal cuts off WikiLeaks from using its services to collect donations.
June 2012: Assange files for political asylum at Eduador’s London embassy.
Aug. 2012: Julian Assange offered asylum in Ecuador.
In the article of Benkler (2011), he discussed about the purposes of WikiLeaks. The main purpose of WikiLeaks is to bring news and information to public. Another of the organisation’s goals is to ensure that whistleblowers and journalists are not jailed for emailing sensitive or classified documents. The online “drop box” was designed to “provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to our journalists.” (Wikileaks n.d)
The mission of WikiLeaks, according to their website, is to bring “truth to the world by publishing fact-based stories without fear or favor.” In attempt to fulfill their vision, however, Wikileaks has created worldwide controversy, putting the U.S. in diplomatic dire straits. If you visit their website, you’ll immediately notice their current tagline: “Help WikiLeaks keep governments open.” (Goins 2010) It tells me that there is a deeply-ingrained desire in each of us to search and fight for the truth. It also tells me that people love controversy. Wikileaks is a good thing. Large institutions should be held accountable, and the internet is an extremely good way to do so. There is a difference between reporting truth and possibly endangering lives. To me though, the biggest concern with the Wikileaks controversy is the way people are reacting. The United States is not at war with Wikileaks, as much as some people and media instituions are trying to make it seem that way. Wikileaks might have released too much, but at the same time it is still part of the media, and labeling it with words such as “terrorist” and trying to shut the site down is pushing the boundaries of freedom of the press.
Benkler, Y 2011, A free irresponsible press: Wikileaks and the battle over the soul of the networked fourth estate, accessed 19/10/2012, http://www.benkler.org/Benkler_Wikileaks_current.pdf
Defraia, D 2012, WikiLeaks Timeline: Key Moments, accessed 19/10/12, http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120816/wikileaks-timeline-key-moments-wikileaks-history
Goins, J 2010, WikiLeaks Controversy: What do you think?, accessed 19/10/12, http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org/?filename=wikileaks-controversy
Wikileaks, n.d, What is WikiLeaks?, accessed 19/10/12, http://wikileaks.org/About.html