Julian Assange: Advocate for Transparency?

Assange, Julian. (2011). Time Magazine.

By: Viviana Garcia

It’s been hard to miss the plethora of headlines that have printed on newspapers across the country with the name Julian Assange in connection to the recent WikiLeaks controversy. Whatever your personal stance may be on whether governmental transparency is good for society in the age of information technology, it is worth taking a glace at what constitutes Assange’s views and what the intentions are behind a site that has divulged, what was at one time confidential information to a public without any kind of journalistic buffer. Some have implied that we have entered into a new era of Journalism, that Assange’s take on the news has revolutionized an audience’s exposure to the global state of affairs. WikiLeaks seems to give the term, “raw coverage,” a whole new meaning.

Countries, however, that have fallen victim to Assange’s news posts, have not been keen on the idea of total transparency, especially in the case of the United States, that is now seeking means by which to charge Julian, now under house arrest in Britain, with espionage. He has been called all kinds of things by the public that has followed his story and terrorist is at the top of the list. He denies this, however, and claims that he desires not the harm of a people, but instead, rooting WikiLeaks in the principles of the US Revolution, he hopes to revive a vintage approach to journalism, one that the Founding Fathers of our nation would support, he claims.

There are other claims that he does not shy away from, stating, “we are subverting authority,” while making it quite clear that the United States doesn’t have the technology necessary to take down a site such as this. He says he plays, “inside the rules” not outside them, but just believes that governments are attempting to, “keep the allusion of power” without showing the people what is really happening behind closed doors.

When asked about Private Manning, the American soldier who copied classified government information and turned it over to Assange, he states that he is a prisoner of conscience and because of WikiLeaks Assange was able to take the material given to him and, “publish it fearlessly.” Ultimately, this seems to be one of his strongest points, that journalists should publish whatever they’re given. If a government, such as that of the US, attempts to control the information they release regarding governmental affairs from the public, in Julian’s opinion, the country has, “thrown the First Amendment to the bin.”

When questioned about his own secrecy and how some might view that as hypocritical in relation to his strong advocacy for transparency, he states that he wants a transparent government, not transparent people and that because of the fact that he is a part of a small organization, he can maintain secrecy. Assange is about “free-press activism,” and if they are in danger of being stopped, he holds the power to release encrypted keys that will further disclose the remainder of what he holds in his possession.

One last point of significant interest to the public is who checks up on Julian Assange? Who keeps him from corruption up at the top? To that, he replied, the donors and contributors to WikiLeaks, along with the public.

Countries around the globe have been holding their breath along with top corporations as they wonder what Assange might have stored in his computer. What does he say to that? “Let them squirm.”

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Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment  

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