Friday, January 7, 2011

WikiLeaks and American hypocrisy

For decades news organisations in the US have published government secrets - without the government coming after them.
Inside Story

Ever since a 1971 US Supreme Court ruling, news organisations have been immune from prosecution for publishing classified information no matter how it was obtained.

But since WikiLeaks started releasing embarrassing US govenment cables last month, the Obama administration has attempted to distinguish the whistle-blowing website from traditional media organisations.

Yet with Senator Joe Lieberman suggesting the New York Times should possibly face prosecution for publishing some of the material, questions about prosecuting WikiLeaks started to emerge inside and outside the US - with accusations of censorship from many, including Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, who accused the US of undemocratic behaviour.

So can WikiLeaks or its founder be pursued in American courts? And if it is true that WikiLeaks is a threat to the US, why is the US administration turning a blind eye to the New York Times and other newspapers who are publishing information from WikiLeaks every day?

Joining the programme are Mathew Duss, the national security editor at the Centre for American Progress; Lou Klarevas, a professor at the at New York University's Centre for Global Affairs and a regular writer on legal issues pertaining to national security; and Ian Black, the middle east editor of The Guardian newspaper.

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