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South Africa: Bloggers’ take on Wikileaks

Like much of the world of late, everyone has been affected by the revelations contained in WikiLeaks cables. South Africa is no exception. Here's South African bloggers’ take on WikiLeaks.

“Ons fade nie, ons fokof” covers the Right2Know campaigns point of view on the matter:

The leaking of secret diplomatic correspondence by Wikileaks serves as a warning to all who wish to hide information from the public. As the South African Parliament considers passing the draconian Protection of Information Bill (POIB), they should stop and consider the lesson of Wikileaks: Technological developments with a democratic impulse have forever undermined the ability of states to keep secrets as they have in the past.

The keeping of secrets is a precarious business requiring increasing human and financial resources. The POIB it will have significant financial implications for all spheres of government that the current Bill does not cater for.

As the Right2Know Campaign fights the battle against the Secrecy Bill that would shroud our society in darkness, we take note of another Wikileaks lesson: Governments which mire themselves in secrecy can quickly become enemies to their own people. There can be no doubt that publishing much of the information on Wikileaks is in the public interest – even if it is not in the interests of governments. It is for this reason that we continue to demand that the scope and definitions of South Africa's Secrecy Bill must be narrow in their remit.

The Times Live Blog asks the question as to whose interest does Wikileaks really serves…:

Does this information serve the American public interest? I don’t know, but to me the more important question, as I am not an American, is “does it serve anyone else’s”?

And that I think is going to be one of the great media freedom debates of the next century – now that we are in a world that is truly international, in which a news item can be read worldwide – who do we mean when we say “in the public interest”?

As journalists, which public’s interests are we supposed to be considering?

Web AddiCT(s) covers the best way to search Wikileaks documents:

250 000 new US Cablegate documents. These documents contain top secret information from
around the world and make for very interesting reading but the biggest problem Wikileaks has is
that it is impossible to browse this large database in the way they present it on their website.
Leaksearch.co.cc or http://locallist.co.za/leaks is a website that solves this problem, it allows you to search the cables quickly
and easily. It’s such a simple tool but would clearly make the lives of journalists much easier. Also
great if you’re just curious on different topics. Give it a go.

Africa is a Country covers an interesting comment on two other blogs, one supporting Wikileaks and the other not so much.

Both Biblical Paths and GalloZone cover the news of the soon to be launched “OpenLeaks” platform at www.openleaks.org.

2OceansVibe writes about Julian Assange winning this year’s Person of the Year poll as well as some very humorous advertising a female hygiene brand has come out using Wikileaks:

The man behind WikiLeaks has won the most votes in this year’s Person of the Year poll. Readers voted a total of 1,249,425 times, and the favorite was clear. Julian Assange raked in 382,020 votes, giving him an easy first place. He was 148,383 votes over the silver medalist, Recep Tayyip Ergodan, Prime Minister of Turkey

Another advert by the same company was covered by the OFM Blog.

Finally, on a more zeitgeist note, Memeburn talk about 2010 being the ‘year of Wikileaks’ in their post “WikiLeaks provides ‘Napster moment’ in evolution of web”.

If 1999 was the Year of Napster in the history of the internet then 2010 will go down as the Year of WikiLeaks.
Napster, the file-sharing renegade, upended the music industry and copyright in ways still being felt a decade later while WikiLeaks, for better or worse, is likely to have a similar impact on government secrecy and transparency.
For now, WikiLeaks has governments, institutions and individuals around the world searching for answers to difficult questions surrounding US policy, free speech, internet freedom, privacy, secrecy, transparency and the power — and dangers — of the Web.
WikiLeaks has argued that its release of hundreds of thousands of secret US documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the inner workings of US diplomacy exposes US military abuses on the battlefield and “contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors.”
Its detractors denounce the release of the documents as a crime carried out by a disgruntled US soldier and abetted by a self-appointed truth-teller in the person of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

I recommend reading the full post on their site covering comments from prominent media and online media scholars and bloggers.

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