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Patricia Alonso

Freelance journalist based in Istanbul. Keeping an eye on Turkish politics and development.

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Friday, 26 April 2019

The Tense Relationship Between Traditional Journalism And Wikileaks

When Julian Assange was arrested on April 11, I read something on Twitter that caught my attention:

"Problem is, he is not a good hero."

Assange was initially the image of the free speech movement, but with time he was also seen as a threat to journalism. 

On this episode of The Daily, Michael Barbaro talks to New York Times reporter Scott Shane, who collaborated with WikiLeaks, about the ethical dilemmas of working with Julian Assange.

In 2010, when WikiLeaks got all the media attention, Shane was at the Times' Washington bureau. They received hundreds of thousands of confidential documents, and they didn't know how to deal with them. 

Usually, you would get that kind of information from a government source, but Assange was not.

Shane argues, from a more traditional approach, journalists are careful with what they put out there in terms of people's safety. But Assange was more worried about just "throwing everything out there" than the consequences. And in the end, he did it. 

At the time, the Obama administration decided that prosecuting WikiLeaks would endanger freedom of the press, but then 2016 happened. 

A very interesting discussion on how investigative journalism deals with the thin line between the need for telling the world what's going on and protecting people from unnecessary risks. 

But also about how Julian Assange ended up—for many people—going from hero to zero. From being a journalist to 'simply' a hacker. 

The Tense Relationship Between Traditional Journalism And Wikileaks
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