Talk: WikiLeaks, Whistleblowing and the Mainstream Audience

Human Rights and Digital Freedoms
Sunday 13th of November, 2011

by Christian Christensen

While a fractured relationship between WikiLeaks and mainstream media organizations has made for interesting debates over questions of journalistic codes of conduct, transparency and whistleblowing, it is worth considering how this change impact the spread of information to what can loosely be called a "mainstream audience".

In this talk, Christian Christensen argues that though editors and journalists might disagree with the terminology, the newspapers previously working with Assange acted as efficient distribution arms for WikiLeaks. In exchange for access to rare, sensitive material, the papers provided research, write-ups and distribution.

There were alternative venues they could have been chosen for distribution (such as progressive radical newspapers and websites), but these do not have the organizational structure and market clout to have the impact WikiLeaks (and presumably the whistleblowers) wanted.

With the current acrimonious relationship between Assange and major mainstream media outlets (particularly The Guardian and New York Times), the issue now is where WikiLeaks will turn for collaboration? if collaboration is even on their agenda.

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