The project I’m currently working on in my Free Speech and the Free Press class semester is on Net Neutrality… at least it started out as Net Neutrality. But the whole notion of literally treating everything on the Internet as equal has grown in an unwieldy direction towards economic implications, focusing at specific points of theoretical concern involved with free speech. The issue is primarily based on the premise that there is somehow a way of managing the Internet – but there are certain principles that would have to exist in order for the Internet to function as a reliable pathway for information to flow. Wikileaks found a country willing to uphold the principals of Net Neutrality, and before Julian Assange was charged with sexual assault the website had managed to rally general support for the value of information.
As Wikileaks gains notoriety and infamy, there is a faction of Americans – and probably a few other world citizens who are hell bent on bringing Julian Assange to justice; for what he’s done to tarnish the names of people who’ve been accused of doing what they apparently do on a regular basis.
The power of information did that.
The way that Wikileaks gained notoriety has been through Internet, but most notably through the Journalists who follow the stories and facts from the leaks that the Wikileaks team serves. The journalist still hasn’t found his place in the information age, but the role they’ve served regarding Wikileaks was crucial to the documents reaching a broad audience.
There is little to be said of change in this sense. The Journalists have provided the service that they’ve always provided, but somehow they also took some blame and backlash from the same people who are choosing to oppose what Assange is doing. I think this also served as a dividing action between what good journalism does, and what politically motivated journalism does. When anchors on Fox News can publicly cry for blood, one has to consider what it is that they’re valuing. The good Journalists tells people what’s going on in their country and around the world, if they didn’t issues like Watergate would have never surfaced – allowing a government to operate in terms of self interest instead of for the general well being of a nation.
Whoever access information on Wikileaks is able to judge the content as they wish. If they are viewing it based on another’s recommendation, then they are likely viewing it to either discount or verify the beliefs of the one who recommended it to them. What Journalists have done is place a tentative step into Net Neutrality’s realm, by continuing the chain of information, and broadening access to Wikipedia as a resource. These journalists who mined Wikileaks in cooperation with the organisation have placed value on providing information as a service.
Published accounts of news organisations who’ve been taking part in the dispersal of Wikileaks information have threatened the relationship that was foraged between the two parties. If they loose confidence in that decision, they loose confidence in the journalistic principle of providing their readers with information.
** please forgive the lack of sources. It’s 3a.m. and I’m still writing my Case Study. Wish me Luck Internets.