Wikileaks – Melissa Dickinson

Posted: March 16, 2011 by melissadickinson in #8 Wikileaks

Before discussing the nature of Wikileaks in class, I was easily persuaded that Julian Assange’s website was detrimental to our society. Maybe that’s not the right way to describe it. I believe I was under the impression that some things are better left unsaid and behind closed doors. However, by gaining a better understanding of Assange’s goal in publishing these “private” documents, anyones prior opinion can be quickly changed.

By publishing the controversial video footage of American soldiers shooting at and killing innocent Iraqi civilians, even the most supportive people of the war in Iraq can quickly decide that the war is a terrible idea. This is only one example of a leaked document changing the opinions of many. It is reported that there are over 90,000 leaked documents on the war in Afghanistan. In addition there are thousands of leaked documents on Iraqi war initiatives. This is only concerning one or two large topics. There are numbers upon numbers of leaked documents concerning a wide range of topics. It’s a world of information open to the public and to journalists to be used at their own discretion.

I took a few minutes and logged on to the Wikileaks page and began to sift though the enormous piles of information and documents. And that’s just what it is. Sifting. There is a world of information at the hands of journalists, but it would take hours of tedious sifting in order to find the information that pertains to your topic. In some instances, this information is worth digging for. But I wonder if there is a simpler way to get the information required. Interviews, debates and conferences have always worked in the past for journalists. However, the people you are approaching are not obligated to give you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So, that’s where Wikileaks takes a positive spin. Assange and his crew have gotten their hands on some pretty important documents and information and released it to the public. Now, journalists and society get attain this information that leaders and the people in power have been holding back.

And that’s why Wikileaks has gotten a bad wrap. The people in power essentially are no longer in power of the information that is released concerning them. Political leaders and the powerful people often speak about transparency and promise to make more information available to the public. However, those are only words and are not always followed through with. Now, Assange has taken matters into his own hands and thrown the information out there. Now, people are panicked. The people withholding this information are brought into light. Reputations are changed and peoples opinions concerning topics are changed. People are now able to make a more educated opinion concerning important topics, like the war in Iraq.

Journalists jobs have not changed considerably after the development of this website. If anything, there is more pressure to attain accurate information. No longer do journalists have to gain their research and information through interviews and set up meetings. Technology has made the process of securing information easier and quicker. Just press the power button and world knowledge is only a click away.

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