Over at Gigaom on Tuesday, writer Mathew Ingram wrote a thoughtful piece on the larger impact of WikiLeaks on the mainstream press. “There are signs that the U.S. government wants to target mainstream journalists and media outlets for the same kind of investigation that WikiLeaks has been subjected to for publishing classified information, which makes it even more important to defend WikiLeaks’ status as a media entity,” he wrote.
He goes on to quote from a blogger at the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “A senior Justice Department official told the Washingtonian recently that journalists who speak to government sources about top-secret information should be careful, because doing so could ‘put them at risk of prosecution.’”
Ingram’s post on Gigaom got the attention of former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, who corresponded with Ingram. Keller also worries that prosecuting Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks could weaken the First Amendment and newspapers’ role in a democracy. “I would regard an attempt to criminalize WikiLeaks’ publication of these documents as an attack on all of us, and I believe the mainstream media should come to his defense.”
If you are a regular FORA.tv follower, you know we have published numerous videos on the WikiLeaks controversy, including an indepth series, WikiLeaks: Security Threat or Media Savior?
Last year David E. Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, talked about the decision to publish WikiLeaks’ classified information. “We had never dealt with leaked material at this scale,” he said.