Big Brother’s New Sib
This is a Farewell to the Arms of Big Brother exerting sole control over the media and journalism. Wikileaks is “new model of journalism.” Wikileaks is a website that collects and publishes leaked information typically labeled as “classified.” Yet, this “classified” information exposes corruptions and abuses of governments around the world. The information published is of little threat to national security. It is published so that the public can monitor Big Brother. It operates under the words of the Supreme Court that “only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government” (Nyt v. US). Wikileaks has published information on:
- War, killings, torture and detention
- Government, trade and corporate transparency
- Suppression of free speech and a free press
Wikileaks has had measurable success. For instance, they exposed that President Moi of Kenya costs the country $3,000,000,000 in corruption which swung the December 2007 Kenyan election.
Wikileaks is successful obtaining classified information, because of its information collecting policy. It guarantees anonymity to information sources. We have seen this model of anonymity help several internet blogs succeed. Anonymity encourages individuals to freely express their minds and share information because there is little fear of personal identification and subsequent reprisal.
Most recently, Wikileaks has introduced us to modern warfare – attacks and documents only seen in war movies. They have leaked more than 90,000 United States military and diplomatic reports about Afghanistan filed between 2004 and January of this year. In July, Wikileaks released a video showing combat in Iraq:
The word “revolutionary” has been used to describe Wikileaks. This seems fit given that “during times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” (Orwell). The media, is often considered the Fourth Branch of government. It censors information of public interest. It works under Big Brother. In the media, we simply get reports containing deceptive words used as propaganda, such as “freedom fighter” and “war criminal” – our modern “newspeak.” Wikileaks allows us to monitor Big Brother. It can be considered Big Brother’s Big Brother. It can be considered a rogue organizations, such as Al Qaeda. It has no defined geographic base and we do not know when it will strike. However, when it does strike, we know its will help improve transparency between governments and citizens.
The challenge for Wikileaks is to solidify its identify. It has to expand its reach to ensure people can rely on it for news. Wikileaks needs to develop relationships with news media outlets to foster the exchange of information that is important for the public to hear. Furthermore, Wikileaks needs to decide if it does want to adopt a political agenda – a practice that often harms the reputation of news outlets like Fox News. By labeling the video of the Iraqi attack “Collateral Murder” Wikileaks seems to adopt an anti-war stance, which is not beneficial if they want to be an impartial news source. It will be interesting to see the transnational impact Wikileaks has in the future.