Ear on the ground: Perspectives on Wikileaks

Posted on 21 December 2010

New Nation updates you on a hotly-debated issue.

Saturday Night Live, a popular American sketch comedy and variety show, pokes fun at Assange.

TIME MAGAZINE and the Bank of America are just the latest groups to snub Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks.

Although Assange was the reader’s choice to be TIME’s magazine’s Person of the Year, its editors picked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg instead, even though he was ranked a distant 10th.

Bank of America, facing threats that Wikileaks will release confidential files pertaining the bank next year, have decided to stop all payments funneled to the organisation, according to this Financial Times report.

While Assange is undeterred about releasing more documents, claiming to possess a “thermal-nuclear device” that will be released if he feels threatened, he got a taste of his own medicine when court papers detailing how he molested two Swedish girls were leaked.

In Singapore, bloggers, politicians, and writers have been furiously debating about Wikileaks, especially when it came to the effects of its disclosures on international diplomacy:

“I find Wikileaks very interesting because I used to be the foreign service officer writing those notes. I would hate to have some of the notes I wrote released to the public – not because they are bad notes, but because it’s important for diplomats to have confidential discussions with each other… If we come to a stage ewhere we cannot speak frankly, that is when we lose a bit of our edge over other countries; we lose the ability to punch above our weight. But now that it is out, I encourage you to read it because it’s good education on Singapore’s foreign policy.” — Gerald Giam, Executive Council member of the Worker’s Party, at Face to Face

“From an ethics standpoint, do governments and the military have the right to hold information secret? I’m inclined to say ‘yes’ , purely for security reasons. Yet I’m completely aware that the very same mechanisms are also being used to keep other information that ought to be disclosed, secret. Which is why we all love WikiLeaks.” — Marthia Lee, in her personal blog

“Unless governments and higher-level authorities begin conducting their affairs in honest and direct ways, Wikileaks and similarly styled ‘leaks’ via mobile phones, instant camera videos, iPhone scanners and photos will continue exposing ‘truths’, and continue causing upset.” — Lee Wei Fen, on Kent Ridge Common

This post was written by:

- who has written 81 posts on New Nation.

Terence is an online media nut that is obsessed with writing and publishing on the Internet. Recently, he took up photography to expand his repertoire, and hopes to learn videography soon. He has worked in both online and print publications such as The Straits Times, Today, Mind Your Body, The Online Citizen, and Funkygrad. He is currently the assistant editor with SGEntrepreneurs, a website that covers entrepreneurship in Singapore and Asia. Terence can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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