Friday, December 3, 2010

WikiLeaks: Being journalist or not is not the issue.

Editor in Chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assanage, says the question about whether or not he is a journalist is not the subject that is important, rather the authenticity of the information he has so far puts across on his website, which has created diplomatic storm across the world, leading to several countries including the United States and Australia, where he comes from, going after him for criminally obtaining sensitive information that has embarrassed the United States.

Responding to series of questions from readers put together by the British Guardian newspaper, Mr. Assanage said the issue not about him being a journalist or not, but someone who gives directions to colleagues he works with to get the right information for publication.

“I coauthored my first nonfiction book by the time I was 25. I have been involved in nonfiction documentaries, newspapers, TV and internet since that time. However, it is not necessary to debate whether I am a journalist, or how our people mysteriously are alleged to cease to be journalists when they start writing for our organisaiton. Although I still write, research and investigate my role is primarily that of a publisher and editor-in-chief who organises and directs other journalists.”

The US State Department has consistently questioned his role whether or not he is an internet hacker who is masquerading as a journalist, as thrown in by a questioner. .
On the popularity the site has gain within a short period, Mr. Julian Assanage said he has always been confident about the site playing a crucial role in the dissemination of information across the world.

“I always believed that WikiLeaks as a concept would perform a global role and to some degree it was clear that is was doing that as far back as 2007 when it changed the result of the Kenyan general election. I thought it would take two years instead of four to be recognised by others as having this important role, so we are still a little behind schedule and have much more work to do. The threats against our lives are a matter of public record, however, we are taking the appropriate precautions to the degree that we are able when dealing with a super power”.

When a questioner who described himself as a former British diplomat asked him why he should not be held responsible “when next an international crisis goes unresolved because diplomats cannot function?

Mr. Assanage’s response was:”If you trim the vast editorial letter to the singular question actually asked, I would be happy to give it my attention”.

Photo Credit: Carmen Valino for the Guardian

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