WikiLeaks and Journalism
Is what WikiLeaks does journalism?
What is the relationship between WikiLeaks and traditional journalists?
While there are some key differences in how WikiLeaks works and how traditional journalists function, they really just pursue different ways to share information with the public. In fact, traditional journalists often work with WikiLeaks to break important stories based on leaked information or report on documents released by WikiLeaks.
How would journalism be affected if Julian Assange were extradited and tried in the U.S.?
The impact would be catastrophic.
Reporters, legal scholars, and media critics have noted that the allegations against Julian involve the same kind of news-gathering and publishing behavior that mainstream journalists have practiced for centuries. The indictment against Julian interprets the Espionage Act in such an aggressive way that it could be applied to anyone who works with a source who has access to secret information and any act of publishing information the government feels puts people in danger. This opens the door to widespread persecution of journalists who reveal unflattering information about those in power.
Perhaps more importantly, this interpretation of the law jeopardizes the public’s access to the information they need to know to make informed decisions on the issues. Governments already have a significant advantage in shaping the debate — the “bully pulpit” lets them speak directly to the people and their power to classify information enables them to shape the debate. If revealing secrets is criminalized, our ability to uncover official misconduct and corruption is drastically weakened.