Wikileaks; is our government letting us down?

I’ll be appearing at the following event next week in Sydney presented by the Australian Institute of International Affairs:

Hosted by: AIIA NSW

The event will start on: Tuesday, 08 February 2011 6:00 PM

And will end on: Tuesday, 08 February 2011 7:30 PM

At The Glover Cottages, Sydney

124 Kent Street , Sydney NSW

0280114728 … … …  [email protected]

Posted by: nsw

To discuss this critical aspect of democracy in international relations, the AIIA in NSW is privileged to bring to the Glover Cottages senior diplomats, journalists and lawyers. The discussion will be led by John McCarthy AO, national president of the AIIA, and former Australian envoy to India, Washington, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Mexico,…  and Peter Kerr, executive editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, which published many of the WikiLeaks in Australia. They will be joined by a prominent lawyer, and by the writer Antony Loewenstein . The session will be moderated by Colin Chapman, whose extensive experience in international journalism includes senior editorial executive positions at the Financial Times, the London Sunday Times. The Australian and the BBC.

Why do many of those who lead Australia – and many other countries – so often present a misleading picture of international issues?…  And when WikiLeaks publishes factual accounts of cables to the US State Department, why have there been calls for WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, to be punished?…  Some in America have even suggested a trial followed by capital punishment. Julia Gillard has been ambivalent, and the attorney-general, Robert McClelland went so far as to suggest Mr Assange could lose his Australian citizenship.

At the other extreme, some have suggested that WikiLeaks could supplant modern journalism, thought to have fallen down on its task of providing accurate information and intelligent analysis on many international issues, including the war in Afghanistan.

Yet WikiLeaks had no role in the current wave of unrest in the Middle East, particularly in Egypt. Even social networks, characterised by some as being the catalyst for the turmoil, have failed to inform, leaving the public little option but to rely on old fashioned quality journalism.

In this brouhaha,…  what has happened to Freedom of Information and pledges by governments to become more frank and open?

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