Journalists Support Controversial Wikileaks

(image via insurgentconsciousness)

It’s a story that has everything: a socially awkward protagonist, government secrecy, sex and blackmail.

A few weeks ago, this NYT article profiled Wikileaks founder and self-proclaimed “James Bond of journalism” Julian Assange and the obstacles he now faces after releasing confidential documents on the Afghan War. The article reveals that some of his own “comrades” are wary of the implications Wikileaks has on not only accuracy, but journalistic integrity as well, describing Wikileaks as a network beginning to internally rot.

However, a article reported yesterday that there is growing support for Wikileaks, according to a petition hosted by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (how convenient that the link is broken).

The article states that 113 journalists from 34 countries have signed this petition, created in response to the Afghan documents release.

You know, I’m not really sure where I stand on this whole Wikileaks issue. On one hand, it is a great resource for journalists and is definitely something that will keep the government in check. But on the other hand, I think we need to keep in mind that these documents are just that–isolated pieces of internet paper that can essentially be manipulated to fit anyone’s ideologies.

To be fair, though, Assange did use the prefix “Wiki,” and since when is it okay to use a wiki-anything as a source for an authoritative research paper? In that respect I feel that the site is basically a giant disclaimer for skepticism.

What I think is the bigger issue here is that journalists are supposed to use a combination of sources to create an article that informs its reader and provides the context with which the reader can make an educated decision. The journalist is the medium, the translator between politi-speak and the vernacular. Wikileaks undermines this by eliminating the translator, and  honestly, what person do you know will actually take the time to research both sides of an issue?

I think Wikileaks is valuable, but at the same time I don’t think the release of every single document in its raw form is the solution to checking the government.





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