Julian Assange WikiLeaks

Yesterday Christopher Warren wrote about how the debate over whether Julian Assange is a journalist or not serves no purpose other than to undercut future press freedom, Kishor Napier-Raman rounded up the latest pre-election gaffes, and Charlie Lewis kicked off his coverage of the War for Warringah. As always, opinions were roused. Let us know what you think.

On Assange: help or hindrance?

Laurie Patton writes: Call Julian Assange a journalist if it makes you feel good. But the “practice” of journalism requires certain fundamental steps: 1. Determine that publishing is genuinely in the public interest; 2. Minimise the risks of adverse unintended consequences, especially torture and/or death; 3. Where it is appropriate in order to achieve ‘2’, anonymise the material.

In my opinion, Assange did not do ‘2’ or ‘3’ when he dumped masses of uncorroborated and unfiltered material via the internet. The journalism was done by the publications that used WikiLeaks material, having filtered it, considered its voracity and added context. If all Assange wanted to do was alert the world to unedifying activities he could have simply sent the material to existing publications (anonymously, if he didn’t wish to entertain the prospect of prosecution). However, it was his ego and hubris that made Assange determined to be the pubic face and hero of WikiLeaks. I don’t think he has done journalism any favours. 

Rajend Naidu writes: According to the UK judge, Julian Assange is “a narcissist who cannot see beyond his own selfish interest”. Is that why the WikiLeaks whistleblower exposed the war crimes the US military was committing in Iraq during the war of invasion under the fictitious pretext of taking out dictator Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction? I don’t think so. It takes a man who sees well beyond his own selfish interest to do that. 

On pre-election gaffes

Peter Schulz writes: The photo accompanying Abbott’s now-deleted tweet speaks volumes about what is wrong with political commentary in Australia. Piers Akerman presents himself as a serious political analyst (the ABC even has him on Insiders, for heaven’s sake), and yet here he is in a Liberal campaign T-shirt, clutching a wad of pro-Abbott brochures, and looking like a star-struck teenage groupie fantasising about his idol.

On the complex legacy of Tony Abbott

Peter Wileman writes: “He’s a big ideas man, and therein lies his appeal and repellence.” Maybe… but even he recognises that he “isn’t the suppository of all knowledge”!

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Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey