Wikileaks: is this a significant moment in history?

I can’t help thinking that what is happening with Wikileaks and the strident opposition Julian Assange and his cohorts are enduring from governments around the world is a significant moment in history.

will the wikiLeak become a flood?

will the wikiLeak become a flood?

While the traditional press have been fretting about copyright and free distribution affecting their business models a much bigger threat has been bubbling up via the Wikileaks model.

It seems to me that Wikileaks is to journalism what Napster was to the music industry.

Sure, Napster was shutdown, but only after interrupting an entire industry and spawning many copycats, some of whom still exist today. The damage was done and the music industry will never be the same again. Out of the ashes rose legitimate business models for easily buying music online, such as iTunes.

Will Wikileaks, which apparently intends to go down fighting despite extraordinary international Government and corporate pressure, lead to a reinvention of  journalism? Or will it lead to massive censorship of the Internet with governments using Wikileaks as an example of it’s potential threat to national security?

Today during the Media Panel at LeWeb ’10 in Paris, France, Weblogs SL’s Julio Alonso said, “This is a turning point for the Internet — it’s not just about WikiLeaks anymore. What happens to WikiLeaks will get applied to others later on.”

“This is the first attempt at censorship of the Internet by all the governments of the planet,” Wikio’s Pierre Chappaz added. “Despite all the attacks, I’m optimistic that the information will survive,” he added.

“We have to speak about what’s happening,” Chappaz said. ”I’m amazed by the silence of the traditional media. This is a systematic attack. We have to explain to the traditional media. The stakes are about the free press,” he continued.

Techmeme’s Gabe Rivera added that the leakers aren’t going to lose this war. He cited mirror sites, Twitter accounts, Facebook messages, and all kinds of things that keep popping up to continue the data spread. “The leakers will win,” he said.

And if that’s the case it would seem that this style of journalism will become the new normal. As with the music industry, business models will change and new leaders will emerge.

Interesting times for sure.


Gavin Heaton has posted two items you should read regarding Wikileaks, Wikileaks Payback Targets and A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

Excellent post by Mark Pesce – WikiLeaks a blueprint for things to come

from SMH: GetUp gets behind Julian Assange

Posted under Online, Press

Written by Craig Wilson

6 Responses to “Wikileaks: is this a significant moment in history?”

I think you are right – it’s a turning point – but not just for journalism. It’s a turning point because we are seeing very real public disobedience happening around the world. The online #payback is taking place not just against the governments but also against institutions such as PayPal, Visa and MasterCard who are refusing to process payments supporting the Wikileaks organisation.

Wikileaks is showing the connections not just of individuals but also of the institutions. It’s a fascinating drama writ large on the world’s screens.

Comment by Gavin Heaton on December 9th, 2010

I agree Gavin. Really it could be a turning point for journalism, transparency, diplomacy, censorship, media complicity and more. For better or for worse….

Comment by Media Hunter on December 9th, 2010

Great insight, Craig.

I also think it’s a turning point for TRUST. Is information classified confidential, off the record, not for publication, etc. really that? And WHO can you trust with so-called confidential information?

Looks like more than just one can of worms..


Comment by Iggy Pintado on December 9th, 2010

I’m following that pesky anonymous mob on twitter in their new guise. You’ll recognise them.

Comment by Dean Procter on December 9th, 2010

Hi Craig,
I’m conflicted. On the one had I agree with all the sentiment here, on the other I see some serious payback because of it. And I don’t mean by Anonymous, who are – as I tweeted – attacking the Ministry of Information when they are supposed to be targetting the Prime Minister.

Truth is treason when the powerful are challenged as we know (ask Dreyfus et al), but lets hope what Mark Pesce identified in his article helps protect truth.

As for Journalism, many have risen above the scorn this week,
which is nice to see. But I haven’t read much from Journalists on this topic, so perhaps you are right when this type of Journalism becomes the new normal. However in my recent article ( I noted:
“In an age when much of the mainstream media is connected to large transnational media organisations and tied to governments by means of licensing of multi-media operations such as TV and Radio, is it possible the leaks have always been there, but the media has shyed away from them?”

Do you agree that might be true?

Comment by Gavin on December 9th, 2010

There’s an argument going on how will the world turn out when the content in WikiLeaks possession researched and turned into stories by respected mainstream media outlets? This may be similar to my doubt:
What will happen to the world nations if the wikileaks information has reached the common man’s notice?

Comment by Raj - SEO Australia on December 14th, 2010

Leave a Comment