WikiLeaks: To Publish or not to Publish

Should WikiLeaks be published? Should this information be kept confidential? Does the public have a right to know or should diplomacy be conducted behind closed doors?


For me, this quote from Max Frankel (New York Times, Washington bureau chief when the NYT published the Pentagon Papers in 1971) in Wednesday’s Guardian sums up the press’s responsibility to WikiLeaks:

“It is up to government, not the press, to guard its secrets as long as it can, and to adjust to a new reality when it fails. It is the duty of the press to publish what it learns, and to find news where it can when it is denied”

I’d amend that slightly to read: “It is the duty of the press to responsibly publish what it learns”

There’s a difference between information being publicly available and journalists publicising this content, which should of course be done with editorial discretion. The problem is, in the hunt for recognition and acclaim some of South Africa’s publications will print whatever they can get their sensationalist paws on, further strengthening the ANC’s argument for legislating a muted press.

Read the Daily Maverick’s article here

~ by bowlphilosophy on December 2, 2010.

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