Tuesday 30 November 2010

WikiLeaks accused of 'a kind of censorship'

Stephen Glover in the Independent today questions why WikiLeaks has rationed its release of the US embassy cables to five titles - the Guardian, the New York Times, El Pais, Le Monde and Der Spiegel.

He asks: "Why doesn't Wikileaks make its material available to all media outlets at the same time? It is almost as though a kind of censorship is going on. For while it is true that other newspapers can gain access to the same information once it has been presented by The Guardian, the caravan moves on, so that the newspaper will today again be publishing revelations on evidence which in this country it alone has seen, and the same tomorrow, and so on for many days. Moreover, The Guardian has had many days to assess and edit the mountains of information which Wikileaks then dumps on the internet for others to make sense of.

"Presumably Wikileaks believes that The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain, Le Monde in France and Der Spiegel in Germany share its liberal values, and so it can rely on a sympathetic presentation of its revelations. No doubt it can. Wikileaks is in effect trying to shape the reaction to its disclosures when it should – if it truly believes in freedom – be putting them in the public domain for all to see, allowing responsible but widely differing publications to make of them what they will."

He adds: "Mr Rusbridger [Guardian editor-in-chief] may be confident that The Guardian is a responsible and trustworthy filter, but his paper does not have a monopoly on truth and wisdom. There are other ways of looking at the world, which is the glory of a free press. If Wikileaks really does believe in openness and transparency, it should try a bit harder to live up to these high ideals."

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