It is truly amazing what a small group of people, a web site and access to sensitive information can do in such a short period of time. The information age has reached new heights placing the media into the hands of skilful rebels that can overturn a government with only a click. Julian Assange and his group of internet radicals expose government activities shedding light on what happens behind closed doors.
What is most scary is that such confidential information can disseminate so fast and can be accessed by millions of people so easily. Wikileaks opened our eyes to the fact that the web IS powerful. It makes us feel vulnerable just by knowing that so much information can reach big audience in the blink of an eye.
A blogger called Stuart Lambert wrote a great post on the Wikileaks secrecy issue. He talks about the ethics of revealing secrets. He says that there is a time and place for revealing secrets, and that exposing the information should be directly related to the importance of the secret itself. Stuart thinks Wikileaks is not doing a good job at making such a distinction, and he says that the group is not sending important information to the public. However, it is hard to determine what is important and what is less important. Who is it that makes these decisions?
One controversial Wikileak was the release of the video of US warplanes in Afghanistan. This example shows how much the internet has changed. And some say it has become a threat to what we know as journalism. The video posed questions that challenged the purpose of having journalism. Is Wikileaks journalism? Part of being a good journalist is disclosing and providing context to the situation. This way the reader can understand the value of the news and can get an informed opinion. It is hard to accept such a way of disclosing information, where no group of well prepared journalists have reviewed the information before publishing it.
Assange says they are not trying to do journalism. But they have also claimed that they would protect the anonymity of the sources. These statements make it hard for us to come to a conclusion on where this project stands.