Alliance condemns WikiLeaks backlash
Friday, 03 December 2010The Alliance condemns the political attacks being made against whistleblowing website
WikiLeaks, and says the vital role of the press in reporting matters in the public interest - and holding the powerful to account must be respected.
Amazon.com ceased to host WikiLeaks after United States officials condemned the torrent of revelations about political, business and diplomatic affairs that has given the public unprecedented access to detailed information from United States sources, much of it embarrassing to leading public figures.
“Amazon’s decision is extremely disappointing,” said Alliance federal secretary, Christopher Warren. “We need to take a step back from the hysteria. It is not known whether WikiLeaks has broken any law. It has – via a free media – upheld the public’s right to know. ”
The Alliance welcomes the decision of WikiLeaks to collaborate with respected publications, including Der Spiegel, The Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde and El Pais.
“These publications have given assurances that the material published does not put the lives of individuals or sources at risk or reveal material that compromises ongoing military operations or the location of special forces.” said Warren.
The Alliance is concerned that the Australian Government has signalled that it may attempt to pressure Australian media outlets not to report some of the WikiLeaks information. “Given that WikiLeaks is working with five leading media organisations around the world to publicise the Cablegate material, any attempt to muzzle the Australian media in this instance would ultimately prove pointless,” Warren said.
The Alliance is concerned about the welfare and well-being of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and Bradley Manning, the United States soldier who is under arrest and suspected of leaking the information.
“This is a time for calm. The leaks are astonishing in their volume, and what they reveal. But this is not the first time that government or diplomatic material has been leaked.” said Warren.
The Alliance says attacks on Assange and Manning point to a dangerous atmosphere of intolerance and persecution not just for the two men, but for all journalists investigating public affairs.