The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the political backlash being mounted against the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks
and accused the United States of attacking free speech after it put pressure on the website's host server to shut down the site yesterday.
The website's host Amazon.com blocked access to WikiLeaks after United States officials condemned the torrent of revelations about political, business
and diplomatic affairs that has given people around the world unprecedented access to detailed information from United States sources, much of it
embarrassing to leading public figures.
"It is unacceptable to try to deny people the right to know," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "These revelations may be embarrassing in their
detail, but they also expose corruption and double-dealing in public life that is worthy of public scrutiny. The response of the United States is
desperate and dangerous because it goes against fundamental principles of free speech and democracy."
The IFJ has taken no position on the justification for the release of hundreds of thousands of internal documents which have made headlines around the
world in the last few days, but it has welcomed the decision of WikiLeaks to use respected channels of journalism including Der Spiegel, The Guardian,
the New York Times, Le Monde and El Pais to filter the information.
"This information is being processed by serious, professional journalists who are well aware of their responsibilities both to the public and to
people implicated in these revelations," said White. "It is simply untenable to allege as some people have that lives are being put at risk here. The
only casualty here is the culture of secrecy that has for too long drawn a curtain around the unsavory side of public life."
The most shocking issue in this situation, for many people across the world, is emerging as the vicious attack being waged by US and some other
governments across the world. TThey could have responded differently.
Free speech has been eroded at an alarming pace in recent years, and the vicious response of the US and some other governments actually exposes how
they are prepared to trample on the laws that protect investigative journalism and free speech -including the public's right to know. The world seems
to be becoming galvanised on this issue, which may be a very good thing. Free speech has been implemented by stealth, bit by bit, but this situation
has thrust it into the light of massive public scrutiny...which is what must happen to stop totalitarian laws from creeping in in the twilight. As WL
say themselves - Lights On! Rats Out!
edit on 5-12-2010 by wcitizen because: (no reason given)