Journalism or not? WikiLeaks’ status in media world complex

NEW YORK (AP) — After the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, his lawyer was quick to characterize it as an assault against the rights of journalists all over the world who seek to uncover secrets.

But was it quite that clear? Does WikiLeaks do journalism, or is it something else?

The answer wasn’t evident when the organization burst into public consciousness at the top of this decade with the release of government documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems even less so now.

Launched in 2006 as the vision of Australian computer hacker Assange, WikiLeaks produced raw data, not stories — things like Sarah Palin’s personal emails or membership rolls of neo-Nazi organizations. The thousands of memos, cables and other documents about U.S. war efforts revealed when Assange allegedly conspired with Chelsea Manning to break into a Pentagon computer took WikiLeaks to another level. Some viewed Assange as a hero, others as a traitor.


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