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Whistleblower Wikileaks' temporary closure

Whistleblower Wikileaks' temporary closure

Dubbed the "brown paper envelope for the digital age" by the Guardian when it launched in 2007, Wikileaks, "the online clearinghouse for leaked documents", has been forced to temporarily close in order to raise the funds it requires to continue operations.

Committed to remaining ethical and independent, the website refuses to accept government or corporate funding. Having leaked some 1.2 million sensitive documents online, Wikileaks is the force behind the publication of the British National Party's membership list and attracted attention when it hosted the Minton report - a report detailing oil trader Trafigura's activities at a time when the company's legal representation was desperately trying to keep its contents secret from the press.

The website has said that it cannot continue without further funding, imploring those who care about the freedom of expression to donate. Fans of the site have shown their support for the cause via social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, with various groups and messages of support cropping up; including Facebook's "Save Wikileaks" group.

Words of support will not suffice however, if the site is to have any future. The site states it has raised "just over $130,000 for this year but cannot meaningfully continue operations until costs are covered. These amount to just under $200,000pa." "If staff are paid, our yearly budget is $600,000" it added.

Which raises the question as to whether those committed to the non-profit's activities will be expected to work for less. Former political editor of the New Statesman, Martin Bright, said, "I know money is tight, but I urge anyone who cares about liberty to visit the site and donate."

With the future of the site uncertain, we will have to wait and see what price the public are prepared to pay for the freedom of information - and whether they are prepared to shell out for what should be considered a right, as opposed to a commodity.

Source: Guardian



Helena Humphrey


2010-02-01 12:55

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