Friday, July 30, 2010

TEDGlobal: Julian Assange "Why the world needs WikiLeaks"

WikiLeaks has been in the news a lot this week, over a massive release of documents from the Afghan War, coordinated with the Guardian, the New York Times, and Der Spiegel.

The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, made a surprise appearance at TEDGlobal in Oxford to talk about the role of WikiLeaks in balancing the disparity of information power, and holding organizations and governments accountable for their actions. Basically, activist journalism.

Key quotes from the talk:
Well, there's a question as to what sort of information is important in the world, what sort of information can achieve reform. And there's a lot of information. So information that organizations are spending economic effort into concealing, that's a really good signal that when the information gets out, there's a hope of it doing some good. Because the organizations that know it best, that know it from the inside out, are spending work to conceal it. And that's what we've found in practice. And that's what the history of journalism is.
[C]apable, generous men do not create victims; they nurture victims. And that's something from my father and something from other capable, generous men that have been in my life...There is another way of nurturing victims, which is to police perpetrators of crime.

[Disclaimer: "The interview includes graphic footage of a recent US airstrike in Baghdad."]

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