Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

With "Syria Files," Has WikiLeaks Broken Its Slump?

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, July 5 2012

WikiLeaks began today to publish the "Syria Files" — more than two million emails that the document-leaking organization says chronicle exchanges with Syrian officials dating from August 2006 to March 2012.

WikiLeaks itself warns that not every document it is publishing can verifiably be said to be authentic, and has not indicated yet where it got the tranche.

This isn't the first time that internal Syrian communications have been exposed to public view. In February 2012 a group of hackers aligned with Anonymous released a cache of private emails from Syrian government officials, including private correspondence between Bashar al-Assad and his wife.

With founder Julian Assange facing extradition from the UK to Sweden and a dearth of new material until today, WikiLeaks has been beleaguered of late. Besides Assange's legal battle, credit card companies have put the site under blockade and former admirers turned to critics upon discovering that Wikileaks' failure to redact sensitive names put innocent people in danger.

The "Syria Files" might be the first significant information released by WikiLeaks in a long time, but not everyone seems to agree that this is the case. The Guardian reports that Syrian activists are "frustrated and underwhelmed" by the release of the Syria emails. And on Twitter, independent researcher Ashkan Soltani urges journalists to take precautions and practice "good data hygiene" whenever handling "leaked" documents.

WikiLeaks suggests that stories from the cables "will appear" in a number of news outlets, including the Associated Press, but stops short of announcing any sort of partnership. In its initial coverage of the WikiLeaks announcement, the AP says nothing of a collaboration of any sort with WikiLeaks. The organization's previous attempts at working closely with news organizations ended on less-than-amicable terms with the New York Times and with The Guardian.

Personal Democracy Media is thankful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

New Media Sites in Iran Blur Lines Between Citizen Journo, Professional Journo, & Activist

In 2010, Newsweek declared Iran the “birthplace of citizen journalism.” Iranian bloggers were hailed by Westerners as “brave” for their coverage of the aftermath of the disputed 2009 election. A 40-second video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during an anti-government protest won a prestigious George Polk Award, the first anonymously-produced work to be so honored. And then came the 2013 study “Whither Blogestan,” which sought to explain Iran's shrinking blogosphere. Of nearly 25,000 highly active and connected blogs in 2008 and 2009, only 20 percent were still online in September 2013.

GO

More