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Wiki Leaks – Friend or Foe of Democracy

The emergence of internet and information technologies has a considerable impact on the society and politics. At the same time, the case of Wiki Leaks reveal the full extent to which contemporary media and internet can affect the contemporary politics and the authorities. To put it more precisely, revelations made by Wiki Leaks have opened the public eye on policies conducted by the authorities. In such a way, the public became aware of extremely arguable from ethical and legal point of view policies conducted by the authorities of the US and other countries of the world. What is more important, Wiki Leaks has revealed the wide gap between declared policies conducted by the authorities and actual actions being undertaken that define policies of the authorities. What is meant here is the fact that Wiki Leaks has revealed the hypocrisy of the authorities and double standards that exist in the contemporary politics at both domestic and international level. In this regard, Wiki Leaks is definitely a friend of democracy because it provides the public with information on actual policies conducted by the authorities and reveals secrets the authorities want to hide from the public.

Wiki Leaks contributes to the spread of information about real policies conducted by the authorities and secret services. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that information is crucial for democracy because the public has to be informed about real policies conducted by the state. In fact, Wiki Leaks provides the public with ample information about different issues, which are important for the society and international relations but the authorities often hide this information from the public. Obviously, Wiki Leaks is an important source of information about real policies, which the authorities attempt to hide from the public and are unwilling to publicize their policies, which are arguable from ethical and legal standpoint.

The public needs to have access to information and Wiki Leaks provides the public with the access to information. In this regard, the public needs to have access to information because the freedom of press and the access of actual information are important for the effective relations between the power and citizens. What is meant here is the fact that people need to control the power through different tools, such as election, the balance of powers, and others. If the authorities manage to hide information about its policies from the society, then people cannot adequately control the power. The lack of information misleads the public. People may believe that policy makers are good and their actions are right, unless the true information about their real policies is revealed. Therefore, Wiki Leaks gives the society with a tool to control the authorities because they get the information about actions and policies of the authorities. Being informed, people can make different choices in relation to the authorities to the extent that the public can force the authorities to resign. Therefore, Wiki Leaks helps to enhance the public control over the authorities

In fact, the public being better informed can influence policies conducted by the government. For instance, the public revealing the truth can start the civil action to force the government to change policies and to introduce changes that the public demands.

At the same time, Wiki Leaks forces the authorities to conduct more responsible policies. The authorities grow conscious of the fact that their actions and policies are under the control of the public. If the risk of the information leak persists, then the authorities are aware that their unethical or illegal actions will become available to the public. In such a situation, the career of politicians as well as statesmen will be under a threat, if their unethical and illegal actions are publicized with the help of Wiki Leaks. The authorities would conduct more responsible policies being under a threat of revelation of their scheming or unethical actions and behavior by Wiki Leaks.

In such a way, Wiki Leaks decreases the risk of the violation of legal norms by the authorities. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the law should be prior to all citizens and the authorities. In a truly democratic society, all are equal in face of the law and the law treats all in the equal way. The high social standing or power cannot grant an individual with immunity from legal liabilities in a democratic society. However, the authorities can use their power and hide their illegal actions from the public. In such a situation, the democracy is under a threat and the society cannot control its authorities as well as the democracy cannot be maintained unless the authority is equal to average citizens in face of the law. Wiki Leaks increases the public pressure on the authorities and makes those in power responsible for their action because, if their illegal actions become available to the public, they will be liable for legal prosecution.

Furthermore, Wiki Leaks helps to cope with double standards in domestic and international policies. In actuality, the revelation of the truth about the policies and actions conducted by the government, diplomats and other authorities reveals double standards that are widely-applied in the contemporary politics at both domestic and international level. For instance, the US policies in relation to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan reveal the full extent to which the policy of the US is vulnerable to the impact of double standards. The US conducted and still conducts policies of double standards. Naturally, this information is important for democracy because the society reveals the truth about the double standards policies and people understand that the policy makers are hypocritical and just deceitful. In such a situation, Wiki Leaks contribution to the democracy can hardly be underestimated.

On the other hand, it is possible to refer to critical allegations concerning Wiki Leaks and its impact on democracy. The allegations that Wiki Leaks reveals secrets are inconsistent because Wiki Leaks receives information from diverse sources and this information may be available to the public. Wiki Leaks does not steal the information but it just publishes this information. In such a context, allegations that Wiki Leaks reveals secret information have nothing to do with democracy because secrets have never enhanced democracy. In stark contrast, secrets pave the way to the totalitarian state and decay of democracy because secrets make people ignorant of actual policies conducted by the government and the authorities. In such a situation, the society cannot take right decisions and influence policies of the government. Instead, secrets and the ignorance of the society make people mere puppets in hands of the authorities. In fact, policy makers often use top secret pretexts to cover their unethical and illegal actions.

In addition, the assumptions that Wiki Leaks do not provide reliable information are also inconsistent because Wiki Leaks use many reliable resources and the information published by Wiki Leaks can be collected and analyzed to find out whether the published information is true of false. At any rate, the information published by Wiki Leaks reveals alternative view on policies conducted by the authorities to make the public more careful about what the authorities attempt to persuade the public in. In fact, the society needs to have access to diverse information about the policies conducted by policy makers. In this respect, even if the information uncovered by Wiki Leaks may be not absolutely true, the public still can view this information as an alternative view on the current policies and actions of policy makers and the authorities.

Therefore, Wiki Leaks is a friend and guardian of democracy because it contributes to the development of effective control from the part of the public over the government and policy makers. To put it more precisely, Wiki Leaks uncovers information that the policy makers and authorities attempt to hide. However, the revelation of this information affects the public image of the authorities and increases the pressure from the part of the public because the information delivered by Wiki Leaks to the society makes people think and re-evaluate policies conducted by the authorities. In such a situation, Wiki Leaks make the public more alert about the background and true motives of policies conducted by the authorities.

At the same time, Wiki Leaks is a very important source of the alternative information. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that internet is the main source of independent information. Contemporary mass media, such as television or print media are vulnerable to the overwhelming impact of their owners, which may have different political and economic interests. Internet today is probably the only media where people can share information freely. They can share information openly and spread their ideas. In such a situation, the information provided by Wiki Leaks allow people to form different views and generate new ideas in relation to the current policies and decisions being made by the authorities.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that Wiki Leaks is a friend and guardian of democracy. Wiki Leaks uncovers the truth about actions and policies conducted by the authorities. In such a way, Wiki Leaks makes the public aware of actual actions and policies of the authorities and encourages the public to undertake actions to force the authorities to conduct responsible and ethical policies. The information is a key tool of the control in the democratic society and Wiki Leaks provides the society with detailed information on the current policies and actions of the authorities. Therefore, the public can control the authorities and enhance the responsibility of the authorities for their policies and actions. Obviously, Wiki Leaks is a powerful medium conveying important information to the public, which encourages people to be more critical in relation to the authorities and to evaluate adequately current policies and actions of the authorities.

 

Works Cited:

Barnes, Julian E.; Whalen, Jeanne (12 August 2010). “Pentagon Slams WikiLeaks’ Plan to Post More War Logs”. The Wall Street Journal.
Gollner, Philipp (29 February 2008). “Judge reverses ruling in Julius Baer leak case”. Reuters.
Krebs, Brian (11 February 2009). “Thousands of Congressional Reports Now Available Online”. The Washington Post.
McCullagh, Declan (25 November 2009). “Egads! Confidential 9/11 Pager Messages Disclosed; November 2009”. CBS News.
Rice, Xan (31 August 2007). “The looting of Kenya”. The Guardian.