We’re now basking in a nice post-award afterglow, but the show must go on! And go on it will, with today’s Site of the Week: Wikileaks.
Wikileaks is an exercise in decentralised information gathering, not vulnerable to the attacks of vested interests and open to all who wish to post important leaked documents or to act as whistleblowers. It provides an absolutely vital service to the freedom of information and the future of investigative journalism.
This isn’t just a site where people go to humiliate their boss by posting some sexist emails, far from it. Wikileaks has been involved in some of the most sensational information revelations of the past few years, and will undoubtedly continue to serve up some truly mind-opening resources.
The site currently hosts over 1.2 million documents, with the validity and quality of the documents controlled by a team of volunteer editors in collaboration with visitors to the site by using the same technology that lies behind Wikipedia (the two are not officially connected). In this manner, the site has proven quite effective at removing false documentation and other items open to abuse.
The documents leaked vary in context and importance, from corporate emails that expose unethical practices to vast swathes of information that point to national-scale corruption. One particular example is the effect the site had on a change in the Kenyan government, when the true extent of government corruption was highlighted by documents uploaded to the site it literally changed the course of that country’s political history.
There are too many other examples to highlight just a few, and you could literally spend months just seeing what the site has to offer let alone actually reading the material. One thing is for certain though, even a cursory glance will open your eyes to the sheer amount of injustice and unethical practices that are taking place all over the globe. There isn’t a single country that is immune from these activities, and Wikileaks specifically provides an attempt at unbiased and non-propagandist dissemination of information.
Countries such as China and Iran have flat out banned the site because of the content that it contains; they have angered extremist movements and groups by posting their emails and internal documents; enraged many a corporation by highlighting their unethical business practices. The true beauty of the site lies in its focus on freedom of information and the provision of an outlet for those who have seen or found something that deserves global attention.
Nothing works more effectively than an open platform of debate and discussion surrounding the issues of our time, and Wikileaks has proven itself to be pivotal in helping to provide such an atmosphere and combating against corruption and exploitation throughout the world. Which is exactly why it has been chosen today as our Site of the Week. By providing an open and available resource for vital information, Wikileaks has proven itself to be an absolutely central aspect to a future of the internet that works in the interests of everybody rather than just a few.