The internet is an important entity to mankind. The efficiency and effectiveness of this existence has proven well as it brought mankind comfort. With this powerful medium, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks which publishes secret government information online anonymously, has brought to light the unlimited power of the internet. Was this act of heroism as some claim (Syckle, 2013) right?
An article by Jay Rosen highlighted that the press was free to report on any news and information even if the government wish to withhold from the public due to the freedom of press (Rosen, 2010). With that, WikiLeaks expose information such as the war of America by releasing military documents in Afghanistan in addition, private sectors such as Apple iPhone’s application developer contract (Benkler, 2011).
However, it should not be forgotten the fact that WikiLeaks is accessible by anyone to upload without editorial review or accuracy onto the webpage which could cost misinformation (Benkler, 2011). Compared to news organization such as The Guardian and The New York Times which carefully prove legitimacy through official sources such as, on the 2010 published “War Logs” of American military in Afghanistan, the news organization portrayed a source based reporting routine (Coddington, 2012) which WikiLeaks largely lack. Not to mention the established culture and assumption of the organizations that was built over the years.
WikiLeaks became the organization that functioned to reveal what the public should be aware and concern of, which it managed to do so. It is arguable that the existence of WikiLeaks comes with risk and doubt, but at the same time it has shown the many secrets of which people were unaware of. Perhaps it is not whether WikiLeaks is right or wrong, but rather the difference of a cultured organization and a single individual of no name publishing the news.
Benkler, Y. (2011). A Free Irresponsible Press: Wikileaks and the Battle Over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 311-397.
Coddington, M. (2012). Defending a Paradigm by Patrolling a Boundary: Two Global Newspapers Approach to WikiLeaks. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 377-9.
Rosen, J. (2010, July 26). The Afghanistan War Logs Released by Wikileaks, the World’s First Stateless News Organization. Retrieved from Press Think: http://archive.pressthink.org/2010/07/26/wikileaks_afghan.html
Syckle, K. V. (2013, September 6). Benedict Cumberbatch: Julian Assange Is a Hero ‘In Many Ways’ . Retrieved from Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/benedict-cumberbatch-julian-assange-is-a-hero-in-many-ways-20130906