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A site recently came to the attention of many people observing the US political scene — Wikileaks.org, a site that promises to help you “safely get the truth out:”
Wikileaks accepts classified, censored or otherwise restricted material of political, diplomatic or ethical significance. Wikileaks does not accept rumour, opinion or other kinds of first hand reporting or material that is already publicly available.
The history of Wikileaks, and the fact that the site is apparently actively censored by many governments, certainly speaks to its potential power.
Leaking documents has been protected in certain cases (political, mostly) since the Pentagon Papers were released in the early 1970s. Documents on Wikileaks have included the standard operating procedures for Guantanamo Bay, and most recently the hacked emails of US Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Not surprisingly, Wikileaks was once ordered to shut down, but the same judge that issued the injunction later reversed course after multiple parties sued on the grounds of the First Amendment.
What about inaccurate leaks? Wikileaks has stated that misleading leaks:
are already well-placed in the mainstream media! [Wikileaks] is of no additional assistance.
One of the most powerful aspects of the networked world is the easy availability of source materials. With Wikileaks, whistleblowers and historians alike have a way to share documentation of malfeasance, and the world can examine the evidence.
This will factor into some STM publishing controversy in the future, I have a feeling.