Journalism has come along way from scaring people with alien invasion stories, to which Orson Welles deserves credit.
News was scarce during those times, distribution available only in the evening per day as there was not enough content for a daily morning paper. Now, there are thousands of publications, newspaper, electronic e-zines and the more notorious, powerful, infamous journalism of them all, blogging.
A daily state paper, for example The West Australian, reaches readers of up to the thousands that have their daily newspaper delivered to their door. The New York Times has millions of people reading their paper, as one of the world’s top newspapers to date. It may seem to be such a powerful medium amongst society, but not as powerful as blog websites that attract upwards of millions subscribers. These blogs are even capable of putting their domains to a shut down halte, due to the capacity load of viewers per site page. Imagine that kind of exposure, millions of people in the world are instantly RSS-ed to these blogs. Imagine the kind of control these blogs exercise on people, the amount of information and knowledge readily available for anyone to see. Any idiot can see that this, Its public enemy number one.
Whereas New York Times, The Australian, The Times and Sunday Telegraph are reputably known across the world as a print publication “serving news to its readerships”, they are heavily edited and applied with various gate-keeping techniques to keep not only the government happy, but also neighboring countries. This is where it starts to differ as journalist write to an extent of their allowed “limitation” whilst bloggers are capable of writing just about anything, and protected beneath a statute declaration of “free press” (although, this statute is not foolproof and is subject to inquiry). Perez Hilton, Hollywood’s infamous celebrity blogger. On August 17th in 2007, He famously declared that Fidel Castro, Cuba’s notorioust leader, had passed away, leading to an influx of readers to view the page and other media outlets reporting on the story. Embarassingly, for Hilton, Castro himself appeared on live tv looking frail and tired yet capable of mocking his own death and Hilton himself. Not suprisingly, Hilton listed this as one of his biggest regrets, but it shows just how fast someone can get the information across. Just how easy it is to convey ideas, opinions, or to uncover a political scandal. This is where wikiLeaks comes in, America’s worst nightmare.
WikiLeaks was formed by Australia’s own Julian Assange, A queensland raised male who grew up with the belief of expressing his own opinions and ideas. Australia has always had a much more subdued nature on opinions compared to its neighbouring countries, and perhaps this is where Assange learned to build courage needed to front a revealing expose news format, that surely stemmed from such a young age. I think, maybe it’s just an Australian thing, as I too believe in the form of free speech, so long as it does not intentionally or unintentionally cause harm to others. Assange believed this too, choosing to format his articles to preserve the very little dignity left that journalism still attains.
WikiLeaks is the “kick-ass” version of media, which is to say that it is a vigilante supporting the so called truth to events, laws, dealings and everything connected to the world we live in. Its the Jodie Foster The Brave One, where they take matters to their own hands as there was no justice served. In this situation however, Justice is hidden beneath a cobwebs of lies, deceit and money. Whilst curiosity did in fact kill the cat, isn’t it a basic human right to know the truth, to know what really happened, and what had to happen for us to lead an “idyllic” lifestyle? I am no conspiracy theorist, but surely things were sacrificed in order to keep the peace? WikiLeaks proves to be a source of “real” news when it unleashed a 39 minute un-edited video of a baghdad air strike during the Iraq war on April 25th 2010, where two Reuters news staff were amongst the 12 civilians killed during the air raid because pilots assumed (key word: assumed) that the men were carrying weapons of “mass destruction”, which in fact turned out to be filming and camera equipment. Whilst many politicians argued that it was necessary to ensure the safety of civilians, several different series of mistakes, assumptions and sloppy work done by the army were fatally destructive in ensuring the safety of civilians, and this leak further tainted an already tarnished war that serves to be one of the most embarassing public mistakes America has ever made.
July 25th 2010 saw the release of “The Afghan Diaries”, over 92,000 war documents relating to Afghanistan between the periods of 2004 and at the end of 2009. These documents were then, in turn, distributed amongst the world’s biggest newspapers to date including The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel for a spectacular public release. It included every single event, including small friendly fires, the civilians injured and the number of deaths that took place during this unorganized war. Assange also secretly attached a 1,4 GB worth of secret “Afghan Diary Pages” that will be immediately released as a protection asset, if the members of wikiLeak or himself were harmed. This created chaos and controversy amongst the US, as these are secret documentations that outline and highlight not only the damages they have cost on that small strip of landmass they call afghanistan, but also the blunders and errors they have done in an attempt to “protect the innocent”.
Its no suprise that Obama saw the need to seek help from Britain, Australia and Germany to press criminal charges against Assange, and to limit his international travels, and now, in December 8th 2010, They finally succeeded in his capture in City of Westminister, UK, over sexually “explicit” crimes in Switzerland. Im sorry, but aren’t the swiss neutral? One of the only countries not to be involved in NATO, is the country that called for his arrest to such a crime? In no way that I am dismissing sexual crimes as unimportant, nor am I conspiring that this is all the work of the C.I.A, but this does seem a little odd, and a call to extradite Assange to US prisons will ensure that wikiLeak’s operations will cease to exist.
Maybe Assange, who’s private life is hardly known to the public and leads a rather nomadic lifestyle, had a secret fetish and desire no one knew of, and maybe he was responsible for the charges, or maybe he simply was framed. No one really knows, except for Assange himself. He recently submitted a letter to The Australian, allowing the insight of just how terrifying his life has been all these years due to WikiLeak, and the amount of pressure building within other countries and its officials to stop what he has been doing all these years.
But see, this is where America, and all it’s other “sheep” neighbouring and partnering countries fail to understand. Assange’s arrest has only fueled fire to this enormous cyber war, and those “anonymous” world wide web freedom fighters will ensure that this battle is won. Their publicized hacking into Visa, Mastercard and several other sites are only the beginning. Don’t discount internet warriors, has anyone not heard of a little thing called “Facebook”?
By Marrissa Evans