WikiLeaks good or bad?

December 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

That is a question many are asking themselves now that in the last year WikiLeaks has become the most prominent source of leaked information.

Recently they classified documents from the U.S. Embassy were leaked to The New York Times. Some officials say this could harm soldiers stationed around to world because of the nature of some of the documents.

The way WikiLeaks works is has taken the meetings in dark alleyways and parking garages and made them digital. All you need to do is submit documents and information through a drop box on their website.

There is a potential problem here. If this information is anonymous it could very well be fabricated. I am sure these documents are real because of the work WikiLeaks and The New York Times reporters did.

But now for the real question on everyones mind: is this ethical to publish? The New York Times says that they look through the documents for anything that might be harmful to print, but what they see as harmful, what the government sees as harmful and what the average person sees as harmful is different.

I see this as nothing more than journalists doing their jobs. I also see the difference between this and the Pentagon papers and how the Internet has helped this process along. Both in obtaining the documents and publishing them, the Internet is the driving force here.

But in the end, according to The New York Times website in a note to the readers:

“The Times believes that the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match.”

And that is how it should be.

-Frank

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