The Assange Debate at SXSW

The place I’d most love to be this week is South by South West.  All my friends and colleagues seem to be there, and although a lot of the debate seems trite from the Twitter stream, the Julian Assange, Wikileaks story has caught my eye.

The following is the Twitter stream: it raises some of the heftiest issues of our time, notably the media freedom/public interest debate.

So if there’s anyone left in the UK, who feels they want to comment on the issue, I’m up for being educated, as to my uninformed ears, the whole institutional reaction to Wikileaks seems out of proportion and terrifying in it’s implications, in equal measure. I veer between seeing Assange as a latter day Robin Hood, brave journalist in the best investigative journalism tradition and seeing him as a careless anarchist with little care for those he might have hurt, although slightly less of the latter as I am lead to believe that information *was* filtered prior to leaking.

Either way, I would love to hear what others think. Or are we all too afraid to speak up? And I being foolish by even contemplating debate of the subject?





  • By Clive Longbottom, March 15, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

    If Assange had applied a little more filtering and was a damn site more open around himself, I’d have more sympathy. I don’t care about uncovering shady political deals and so on – we should be uncovering those as general investigative journalism. As it is, the over publishing of details has put people’s lives at risk. As soon as anyone tries to dig behind the Assange mask, then he squeals – he wants his anonymity and his own personal security. There is a very basic disconnect here, and overall, I am not an Assange supporter, but am all for a free press based on well researched (he did this), well supported (he did this) and well thought through journalism (which is where he didn’t do so well in too many cases).

  • By Dogsbody, March 17, 2011 @ 2:34 am

    Can anyone actually show me someone who’s life has been threatened by the publishing of documents via Wikileaks? Seriously, I keep asking and no one can so far. All the documents are public but I can’t find anything in them and as many have said 90% of them are boring as hell.

    I think that’s *one* of the reasons that the press is focusing on Assange instead of the documents themselves. He is more interesting in their eyes than thousands of documents.

  • By claireatwaves, March 17, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    I would never have gone to the trouble if it hadn’t been for the fuss – would you?

    However sympathetic/unsympathetic Assange is, I do find the implications of establishment response frightening. I’m sure a quiet word about anything specific that genuinely put people in danger would have been more effective?

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