It’s hard to know what to say about an organization like Wikileaks. On one hand, publishing classified information must certainly be illegal, but on the other hand, exposing illegal activity certainly shouldn’t be illegal; except, of course, when it puts people (the “good guys”) in danger.
Right now, Wikileaks, in the name of journalism, focuses on nothing; it is throwing everything out there into the public domain, everything from classified government documents to private messages sent between private parties.
Is this really “journalism”?
Perhaps in today’s wired world it can be considered at least “new journalism” but it must also be recognized as “dirty journalism,” journalism devoid of ethics or standards.
When it publishes, as it has, security procedures used at the United Nations and elsewhere, it potentially puts many people in danger in today’s terrorist infested world. When it publishes the tens of thousands of pager messages sent between friends and family on September 11, 2001, without permission from the parties involved, as it has, it steps way beyond any conceivable ethical journalistic standards.
Perhaps “junk journalism” would be the best descriptor.
Another consideration, and the one that concerns me the most, is the future of the Internet! The U.S. government is very upset! You can bet your 401K that the end result of Wikilinks will be new controls on the Internet, more government involvement in Internet operations and perhaps even laws that can punish bloggers (most of whom, who seem to consider themselves journalists) for what they publish in their blogs.
I’m talking about censorship (or whatever they’ll choose to call it); we’ve witnessed it recently: a determined administration will do whatever the hell it wants without regard to public opinion.
No, Wikileaks is certainly not a positive presence in either the world of journalism or the World Wide Web.
Certainly, just my opinion!