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Power to the people? Not quite


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Power, according to Wikipedia, is a measure of an entity’s ability to control it’s environment, including the behaviour of other entities. Wikileaks does not give power to the people, it gives the people insight – when information is leaked to the public it is about past events, and it’s available to everyone; it doesn’t give ‘the people’ any practical advantage at all.

Wikileaks DOES give power to its 5 permanent employees, who get to autonomously control the amendment and release of information leaked to them – particularly Julian Assange, who is given the final say on any releases. It gives power to journalists who previously had to find and thoroughly investigate sources themselves and avoid defamation, but who can now weigh in on contentious topics under the guise of discussing Wikileaks

This isn’t to deny that Wikileaks does promote freedom of information and makes governments more accountable for their actions. But this does not equate to giving power to the people. In many ways in fact it undermines it – in Britain the courts and judicial systems, which ARE in place to protect the power of the people, have had to overturn several injunctions intended to protect citizens’ privacy because Wikileaks ignored them, making them utterly ineffective

Wikileaks also undermines diplomacy and completely ignores realist views of international relations. Governments DO broker secret deals with each other; they have to. By leaking a few select documents Wikileaks doesn’t even give us an accurate picture of international relations, it gives us a really skewed view of it and means governments have to pander to popular opinions – of people who have no idea what’s going on – instead of doing what’s best for their countries. This is made even more dangerous by the fact that Wikileaks, with little transparency to their operations, has a vast capacity to mislead the public and create havoc – as evidenced by the Pakistani media publishing fake Wikileaks cables to attack India late in 2010.

Wikileaks isn’t neutral; it has an agenda, and that is that it’s anti-US, as Julian Assange is – this is according to many of its former employees, who left the organisation for that very reason. It does have its uses and it fulfils many purposes; but giving power to the people? Not quite.


About spud1991

Writer, adventurer, music aficionado, lexophile. I use the word 'lol' in regular conversation and appreciate the irony of it.


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