Thank goodness for WikiLeaks. Though their front-man is facing sexual assault charges and they have become a thorn in the side of the wold diplomatic community, WikiLeaks is hands-down the best thing to happen to our democracy since women's suffrage.
The site, an international non-profit organization that disseminates classified information from anonymous sources, is just one more part of the new wave of journalism surging forward in social media and digital communication. There are millions of documents on WikiLeaks that otherwise would not be available to the public eye.
In essence, WikiLeaks throws open some of the doors that our governments operate behind.
Though governments complain that they require a level of confidentiality for diplomatic reasons, we have to understand that in the new digital world, they have no choice but to be more transparent both to each other and to their constituents. There is little legal recourse against WikiLeaks and their activities, and that is only right. Speech and press should be free world-wide.
While some big media sources (the MSNBCs and FOXs of the world) are afraid of what Wikileaks could mean for the future of journalism, as a journalist myself I think it is a tool to be embraced. Yes, anyone with access to the internet could go to WikiLeaks and acquire the information for themselves, but they will still turn to big media to analyze and parse the information into a format that is easier to acquire. The average media consumer will not want to spend their time sifting through the millions of documents on WikiLeaks.
An active and independent press is necessary for Democracy to function. WikiLeaks contributes to the activity and independence of the media, itself being an independent non-profit website and organization. Therefore, the site itself aids democracy. We journalists should be rallying around WikiLeaks and the freedoms its existence represents.
We may be seeing the first WikiLeaks revolution in Tunisia as I write this entry.
WikiLeaks as it stands is a treasure-trove of news stories. If it continues to get sources it will be an invaluable boon to journalists.
Perhaps even more interesting than the government intrigues uncovered by the site will be the forthcoming corporate communiques and secrets that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has referred to.