Beyond WikiLeaks: from an international whistle-blowing platform to a global political movement
Presented with Media@Sydney, Department of Media and Communications, and the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, the University of Sydney
11 October, 2013
More than three years have passed since the 2010 release of U.S. embassy diplomatic cables that propelled the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks into the international spotlight. Alongside its many other political revelations, including the Afghan War Diaries, the Iraq War Logs, information exposing government corruption, illegal corporate activity and the secret dealings of the financial industry, Wikileaks Cablegate publication sparked intense debate in the realms of international diplomacy, journalism, and broader society about the conduct and representation of modern politics.
Now we are seeing WikiLeaks’ continued evolution from an international platform for political disclosure to an international political movement, including the launch of the Australian political party. Given its remarkable persistence in the face of continued legal and economic challenges what lessons does Wikileaks represent for activism, social justice movements, policy and democracy?
To reflect on this question this event will bring together a select group of scholars who have observed the WikiLeaks phenomenon since its early days, together with the editors of a new edited volume, Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society, published by Palgrave in March.
Benedetta Brevini is a Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Sydney and a Visiting Fellow of Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism at City University, London. A media reformer and journalist, Dr Brevini has been working as a journalist in Milan, New York and London for CNBC and RAI. She is the co-editor of Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society (2013) and the author of Public Service Broadcasting Online: A Comparative European Policy Study of PSB 2.0.(2013)
Alison Broinowski was an Australian diplomat until 1996. Her last overseas assignment was at the Australian Mission to the UN in New York. Her PhD is in Asian Studies at ANU. She has written or edited 11 books on Australia’s interface with Asia and with the United Nations, three of the latest being About Face: Asian Accounts of Australia (2003), Howard’s War (2003), and Allied and Addicted (20070. She is a Visiting Fellows at ANU and is a research associate at Macquarie University. In 2013 she stood for the Senate in NSW for the WikiLeaks Party.
John Keane is Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB). He is the Director of the newly-founded OnDemocracy.org initiative and the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (IDHR). Among his best-known books are The Media and Democracy (1991); Global Civil Society (2003); Violence and Democracy (2004); The Life and Death of Democracy (2009) and The Future of Representative Democracy (2011).
Peter Fray is adjunct professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney and served as an editor of The Sydney Morning Herald from January 2009 to June 2012. In his 28-year media career he has been the editor or editor-in-chief of four metropolitan mastheads, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times and The Sunday Age.
Arne Hintz is a Lecturer at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. His publications include the book Civil Society Media and Global Governance (2009) and the co-edited volume Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism & Society (2013), as well as chapters in volumes such as The Handbook on Global Media and Communication Policy (2011) and the Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media (2010).
Gerard Goggin (moderator) is the inaugural Professor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. His key books are Global Mobile Media (2011) and Cell Phone Culture (2006), as well as the edited collections Mobile Technology and Place (2012), Mobile Technology: From Telecommunications to Media (2009), and Mobile Phone Cultures (2008).