We've been hearing from a lot of people about the latest WikiLeaks disclosures, with strong feelings coming down on all sides of this complicated issue. Since the disclosures raise questions related to so much of POGO's work, we wanted to invite our readers' thoughts. I'm participating in a panel discussion on the WikiLeaks disclosures at Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism next week, and want to make to take a thoughtful approach—so if you're reading this, I'd love to hear what you think.
To start things off, here are some of the questions we've been asked...
Are the WikiLeaks disclosures about blowing the whistle in the public interest?
While most agree that there should be far more transparency in government, and that, generally speaking, more information in the hands of the public can lead to a better informed citizenry, where should the lines be drawn?
Did WikiLeaks cross one of those lines?
What should the role of motivation be in assessing this information?
Should motivation matter at all?
And what matters in the internet era?
News outlets and other organizations, such as POGO, grapple with questions like these all the time. The information can be valuable from a public policy perspective, even if the party can be aggrieved or have some sort of other self-interest in its disclosure. In the past, news outlets were a filter: they could turn down requests from sources to publish or add context. Now, massive amounts of information can be released to the world via sites like WikiLeaks, and done in an anonymous way.
Of course, there are plenty of other important questions surrounding this issue, and we plan to continue this conversation in the coming days.
Please feel free to leave a comment or ask more questions here, or e-mail us at email@example.com.
-- Danielle Brian