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The Forum > Article Comments > The ethics of Wikileaks > Comments

The ethics of Wikileaks : Comments

By James Page, published 28/2/2011

Wikileaks can't ethically dump anything it feels like, as a publisher there are constraints and limits.

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If only these ethical constraints were applied with such diligence to tabloids and shock jocks! Fox News - ethical?

I find it very interesting that Wikileaks is being singled out for intense moral scrutiny, when ethical abuses are perpetrated daily in the mainstream media without anyone lifting as much as an eyebrow.

Indeed, these abuses are often upheld by the Press Council and other self-regulatory bodies when someone does complain.

While Wikileaks does need to be cautious (and it's my impression that they've lifted their game in this respect,) at least they aren't yet beholden to political and corporate interests, as are all of the msm. In that, they retain an independence long lost to the msm.

I doubt we can insist on higher standards from online media than we demand from msm.
Posted by briar rose, Monday, 28 February 2011 7:46:44 AM
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Many times the standard of reporting in the mainstream media is based on meeting strict deadlines without much thought on content, much of it rehashed from other media pieces or lifted verbatim from official media releases.

The beauty of WL is it deals in the raw material. There is no editoralising - that is left to others.

WL do make decisions about releases where there is possible harm to life but thankfully censorship is limited to that condition.

WL is an organisation like any other, it is made up of human beings - sometimes they will make mistakes but rather than the continuing media obssession with the WL soap opera, Assange and divisions within, the basic goals are, for many people, honourable ones.
Posted by pelican, Monday, 28 February 2011 8:09:07 AM
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Provided WikiLeaks has not suborned espionage, hacked into any computer systems or stolen any documents I think they should have the right to publish whatever comes their way.

What I find most striking about the WikiLeaks dump is that it contains nothing I did not already suspect. In fact most of the material was the sort of stuff I take for granted.

Take for example the cable that says the Saudis are probably exaggarating their oil reserves. It is common knowledge that the Saudis have not permitted any independent audit of their reserves for decades.

What is the logical inference?
Posted by stevenlmeyer, Monday, 28 February 2011 8:32:47 AM
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it's interesting that the liberals are all cheering madly about the dump of US diplomatic emails but were outraged at the "theft", or release to the wild, of emails and data from CRU, or ClimateGate, as it is also known.

The ClimateGate cables were ignored by the likes of the ABC because, they were "stolen", but the US diplomatic cables are evidently fair game and it's seen by liberals as wonderful that they are being published and Assange has been nominated for a Nobel Peace prize no less.

So publishing embarrassing data on the "vile" USA is good, exposing bad science and clear subterfuge (hide the decline, destroy the emails) in Climate Science is bad.

I'm not interested in a dialog in ClimateGate, that's off topic but mention it because so many liberals and progressive types just ignore or retranslate what does not suit them .. it's also fascinating how many people just plain hate the USA

I guess it all depends on your perspective and your moral compass ..
Posted by Amicus, Monday, 28 February 2011 8:51:05 AM
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Amicus wrote:

>>it's interesting that the liberals are all cheering madly about the dump of US diplomatic emails but were outraged at the "theft", or release to the wild, of emails and data from CRU, or ClimateGate, as it is also known.>>

Good point.

I, however, cheered the release of BOTH sets of communications. So what does that make me?
Posted by stevenlmeyer, Monday, 28 February 2011 8:56:36 AM
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briar rose, what you say may be true, but it means nothing for James' argument. 'I know you are, but what am I?' is not a legitimate counter-argument.

Despite his protestations, Julian Assange is not a journalist. He remains what he began as: a hacker - ss Jack Marx likewise observes, 'a breed notorious for justifying their behaviour as the product some sort of deep sociopolitical conviction, when mostly itís driven by little more than the thrill of late-night vandalism.'

For a hacker, the overriding imperative is to sneak in, do as much damage as possible and earn bragging rights with your fellow nerds. The more damage, the bigger the thrill.

This attitude echoes in Assange's apparent pride in claiming that Wikileaks actions led to violent riots in Kenya, coolly noting as an aside that this included 1300 deaths and 350 000 people displaced (in other interviews, he has blithely dismissed possible deaths resulting from Wikileaks' activities as 'collateral damage', an attitude that would do the Pentagon proud). Indeed, Assange's ego is so overweening, he even tries to claim credit for the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings.

For Julian Assange, everything is about Julian Assange.
Posted by Clownfish, Monday, 28 February 2011 9:10:59 AM
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