The effect of WikiLeaks

In 2006 WikiLeaks started out as a small, relatively unknown platform for whistleblowers to post their materials. Now it is the most famous platform that posts both secret information as classified media from anonymous authors. The founder behind this infamous website is the former Australian hacker, Julian Assange. To set an example why leaking material would be necessary for a good government, Julian Assange compares his actions to Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon case. On the website, WikiLeaks states Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a basis their work by defining the human rights of expression and receipt of information regardless of frontiers as civil rights. The website of WikiLeaks also states that they pursue  “principled leaking,” to fight government, individual and corporate corruption.

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In 2010 WikiLeaks leaked content that caused dramatically more reactions than any other previous post. Their first post was in July 2010, when they released Afghan War Diary, a compilation of more than 76,900 documents about the War in Afghanistan. Then, on 28th of November 2010, WikiLeaks started to release the US State Department diplomatic cables.

From then on, WikiLeaks became a target of several groups and was under criminal investigation by the US attorney. Later, Julian Assange was arrested due sexual assaults in Sweden, but he was released later on. After the website published the information, several government organisations blocked WikiLeaks. At the universities in the US it was even illegal to read, print, comment on or make links to WikiLeaks.

Several organisations weren’t able to make clear statements. Their is a discussion about both pros and cons in the activities of WikiLeaks. Even activists who stand for more transparency in the media are not behind all the activities WikiLeaks perform. Not all WikiLeaks’ posts where of value, which decreased the credibility of the information. Because of the large amount of data of the diplomatic cables, it was to form an opinion about the posts.

But what is the real impact of WikiLeaks? Will the governments strengthen their security regarding their secret information and will it lead to an increase of different forms of internet censorship? Or will it go the other way around; will the space of free speech increase and will there be a positive development in transparency of public documents?


356802pb Pauline de Bruijn



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