Discussion: Question #1

What current example of public persuasion might illustrate the tension between freedom of communication and ethical responsibility? How?

The international organization, WikiLeaks, publishes “submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers” to the public through their website (Wikipedia). WikiLeaks is attempting to persuade the public that they really ought to pay more attention to the goals (and the methods used to achieve those goals) that their governments and other institutions actually support. WikiLeaks was partially responsible for the recent uprisings in Tunisia through the publication of US Diplomatic cables (The Daily Mail). Freedom of speech demands that WikiLeaks be allowed to share what they are given, but there are times when the information given out can be dangerous (such as a list of our undercover spies). Although the media has moved on to other stories, WikiLeaks continues to publish the information that they receive, choosing the dissemination of information over keeping potentially explosive revelations under wraps.

I was personally interested in the response that commentators in the media gave to these publications as well as their editor-in-chief, Julian Assange. Many called for Assange to be executed or assassinated, while some suggested that he be given the Nobel Peace Prize (Siddique). Even under the guise of patriotism, it was clear that those with the most to lose were also the most vocal about their ethical condemnation of the tactics used by the WikiLeaks staff.

The Daily Mail. “'First Wikileaks Revolution': Tunisia descends into anarchy as president flees after cables reveal country's corruption.” The Daily Mail 12 Jan. 2011. Mail Online. Web. 12 Jan. 2012. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1347336/First-Wikileaks-Revolution-Tunisia-descends-anarchy-president-flees.html
Siddique, Haroon, and Mathew Weaver. “US embassy cables culprit should be executed, says Mike Huckabee.” The Guardian 1 Dec. 2010. The Guardian. Web. 12 Jan. 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/01/us-embassy-cables-executed-mike-huckabee
Wikipedia. “WikiLeaks.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 11 Jan. 2011. Web. 12 Jan. 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiLeaks

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