Friday, 24 December 2010

In praise of WikiLeaks

The internet has an uneasy relationship with more tightly controlled and commercialized dimensions to journalism, media and the “entertainment industry”. In much of the global South, for example, the internet has become a vital and accessible means of spreading information and fostering prospects for greater openness and democracy. What is routinely referred to as a matter of “national security” is often more a question of shame and embarrassment.

Though the term “corruption” is routinely levelled at poorer nations it is clear that richer nations and their corporate sponsors are complicit in many of the most-damaging examples of corruption and human rights abuses in Nigeria, Sudan and elsewhere. Revelations such as high-street banks laundering money from violent dictators should have already been in the public domain; the WikiLeaks saga has simply exposed the lack of effective investigative journalism. Long-standing campaigning journalists such as John Pilger are routinely dismissed as an anachronistic presence amid the slick professionalism of twenty-four hours “rolling news” but without Pilger and his brave colleagues all over the world we would simply not know what is really going on.

Journalists should not be in the service of the rich and powerful; they should seek to inform society about their misdeeds.

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