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Wikileaks: at the Crossroad

14 Apr

 The appearance of WikiLeaks creates one of the most controversial online platforms. No one seems to actually know what the ultimate purpose of the establishment of WikiLeaks. Is it in the public good or individual benefit? A lot of debates cover the problem with social panic, WikiLeaks dump and the credibility of the source as such. Although I concern about various potentials and codes behind the screen that WikiLeaks deal with, however, WikiLeaks can still be regarded as a informative source or potential useful reference for main stream media.

“WikiLeaks and the mainstream media still need each other”(cited in Axon, 2010). They need to work together to better the performance of the functionalities of journalism. WikiLeaks needs the support from the main stream media to appeal public attention to the content on WikiLeaks. “no one would have read the logs without someone to grab their attention, give the logs legitimacy and explain why it all mattered”, said Alexander Hotz”(cited in Axon, 2010), teacher of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. The mutual needs between main stream media and WikiLeaks appears a positive direction for the journalists’ role as watch dog. Besides, WikiLeaks, an organization without written restrictions, strict codes of ethics, government inspection etc., is informative and helpful for main stream media such as The New York Times to get “scoops” (Axon, 2010) that they couldn’t get on its own. Nevertheless, those “scoops” (Axon, 2010) might turn out to be meaningless to the public without the verification and explanation from the media.

WikiLeaks, like other online “news” organization, provides possible facts, statistics and cases etc rather than opinion that the public actually need. Though conservative view think “WikiLeaks is not a news organization. It is a criminal enterprise”(Thiessen,cited in Axon, 2010). Personally, WikiLeaks is just another new or modern kind of news platform. It actually leaves capacity for individuals to choose which content they need to consume and know more detail about that. However, people question the credibility of the source or fact published on WikiLeaks. There seem to be no reasonable possibilities for the public to fully trust the published content
that is selected by one organization for the purpose of the public notice. Instead, people turn to the main stream media, such as The New York Times for validation or research.

WikiLeaks leads its unique way to the new media form, manifestation of potential journalism functionalities. Whether the potentials is for public benefit or risks, the role of WikiLeaks facilitates another accessible variety of information possibilities and leaves the task of selection in the public interest for individuals to decide.

Reference:

Axon S, August 20, 2010, ‘ The WikiLeaks Debate: Journalists Weigh In’, http://mashable.com/2010/08/20/wikileaks-journalism/

Kurson K, December 3, 2010, ‘Julian Assange is neither
a hero nor a villain.’
http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/03/the-wikileaks-debate

Rear Admiral (RETD) K RAJA Menon, ‘WikiLeaks: For public good or Assange’s ego?’, http://www.tehelka.com/story_main48.asp?filename=Ne111210Proscons.asp

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