If institutions are not fully accountable, it is useful to have an unaccountable countervailing institution to reveal their secrets.
In fact, the Wikileaks model is fairly sensible: it solicits documents from anyone, assesses whether they are real, and posts them with alerts to the establishment press, which operates as de facto gatekeeper to the masses.
After all, how many people actually visit the Wikileaks originals?
Few, compared to the millions who see them interpreted in the mass media.
If the cure is to be worse than the disease, to quote Personal Democracy Forum co-founder Andrew Rasiej, let's find a better cure: let's make the proper distinction between what should be secret and what everyone knows.
Let's foster more transparency about the institutions that have power over us so that a Wikileaks is no longer necessary or justifiable. So far, little damage has been done - and little positive change accomplished.
The US reaction has been over the top. It called on Amazon to cancel its contract with Wikileaks, while PayPal shut off Wikileaks' account - apparently without even being asked. Why is it that the call for transparency seems to apply only to countries that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits, rather than to the one that she represents? I recently talked with an establishment stalwart who told me how much more difficult these leaks will make it for the US diplomatic corps to accomplish its putatively worthy goals.
But is diplomatic convenience really so important?
In the long run, Wikileaks matters for two reasons. The first is that we need a better balance of power between people and power. Second, we do want to trust our governments and institutions.
Dyson is chairman of EDventure Holdings.
View the original article here
Source: Business Daily (Nairobi)