ICE blogs

November 8, 2010

International journalists back Wikileaks

Filed under: Blogroll, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism — news_editor @ 1:13 pm

Journalists from every region of the world have joined to support the whistle-blowing organisation Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange who, they say, have provided an extraordinary resource for journalists and made ‘an outstanding contribution to transparency and accountability on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars’.

The journalists, who come from countries as diverse as Russia and Namibia, and Israel and Indonesia, plus many from Europe and North America, are speaking out publicly after watching a growing campaign of threats and unfair criticisms against Assange and Wikileaks. They say: ‘Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing organisation Wikileaks, is being angrily criticised and threatened for his part in huge leaks of military documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is being accused of irresponsibly releasing confidential military information, of endangering lives of people named in the leaked military reports and even of espionage. Some media organisations have joined in this criticism.’

Mr Assange is being attacked for releasing information that should never have been withheld from the public. ‘We believe Wikileaks had the right to post confidential military documents because it was in the interest of the public to know what was happening. The documents show evidence that the US government has misled the public about activities in Iraq and Afghanistan and that war crimes may have been committed.

‘Has Wikileaks endangered lives? There was legitimate criticism of Wikileaks for not vetting the Afghanistan documents fully enough, with some names such as informers being released. Fortunately there is no evidence that anyone has been injured or killed as a result. We note that Wikileaks learned from that mistake and has been much more careful with the Iraq documents. Overall, Wikileaks’ factual reporting of numerous undisputed abuses and crimes is of far greater significance than the widely criticised mistakes over inadequate redacting.’

The reporters say that since it was launched in 2006, Wikileaks has been an extraordinary resource for journalists around the world, furthering transparency at a time when governments are reducing it. Although it is not part of the media, and does not purport to be, its mission of informing the public and reducing unjustified secrecy complements and assists our work. ‘As grateful beneficiaries of Wikileaks and Mr. Assange’s work, we stand in support of them at this time.’

- The petition has been posted on the site so that other journalists can add their signatures.

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