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Strategies for Media ReformInternational Perspectives$
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Des Freedman, Jonathan Obar, Cheryl Martens, and Robert W. McChesney

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271641

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271641.001.0001

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WikiLeaks and “Indirect” Media Reform

WikiLeaks and “Indirect” Media Reform

(p.58) Chapter Four WikiLeaks and “Indirect” Media Reform
Strategies for Media Reform

Christian Christensen

Fordham University Press

The relatively short history of WikiLeaks (2006–2014) has offered numerous examples of how issues central to media reform (political economy, regulation, ownership, law) emerge from their leaks and activities. As I note, WikiLeaks is not a media reform group nor, for the most part, have WikiLeaks leaks or activities targeted media organizations or media-related policy. In terms of reform strategy in relation to whistleblowing, WikiLeaks—as perhaps the only whistleblowing site known across a broad cross-section of the global population—finds itself in an unusual, somewhat isolated position. My chapter on WikiLeaks is unlike the others in this book as it frames debates on media reform as emerging as a by-product of the actions of WikiLeaks, rather than addressing specific strategies for reform. I would argue that, given the nature of its activities, coalition-building around a single organization such as WikiLeaks would be, at best, difficult. However, other whistleblowing sites such as GlobalLeaks.org are starting to emerge, and larger-scale freedom of speech organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Article 19 are evolving into a clear cluster of “digital defenders” advocating for the rights of whisteblowers and users alike, and, thus, offer a valuable node for advocating media reform in relation to whistleblowing, transparency and journalism.

Keywords:   activism, Assange, journalism, Manning, war, WikiLeaks

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