From: The Listening Post

WikiLeaks cyber warriors

We look at the tug of war over freedom of information, plus a still life 2009 retrospective.

This week, we stay with the WikiLeaks story – the battle taking place online, the cyber warriors and the tug of war over freedom of information. Then a retrospective look at 2009 through a series of photographs selected by the jury of the World Press Photo Awards. 

If paranoid governments and hyper-sensitive intelligence agents thought the WikiLeaks juggernaut would slow down with the arrest and imprisonment of Julian Assange, they soon realised how mistaken they were.

After the first court appearance of the WikiLeaks founder in London, the previously unseen arms of the anti-secrecy website got into action, continuing to release more cables and making their case to the world’s media. But that was not all. In the shadows of the world wide web, a growing mass of people decided to strike out at those who put the existence of WikiLeaks in jeopardy – Amazon, PayPal, MasterCard … all found their websites under attack by a group known as ‘Anonymous’.

Our News Divide this week begins in the side roads and back alleys of the information super highway – a virtual game of dominoes that was set off by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange and is being carried on by global media, free speech activists and cyber warriors who want access to the information that only WikiLeaks is willing to share.

Media news from around the world in our News Bytes section: First there was the wiki-leak and then in Pakistan, the wiki-hoax. A number of Pakistani newspapers published fake documents relating to the Indian Army, claiming to have found the information from WikiLeaks. More leaks – this time in Thailand. Secret documents could prove that it was government troops who killed a Japanese cameraman there earlier this year. Iran cracks down on the media as seven journalists are arrested however, according to reports they have released renowned blogger Hossein Derakhshan on bail – worth $1.5mn!

In a 24/7 news environment the pace is fast, the pictures move quickly and the information is relentless. That is why exhibitions like World Press Photo are so important. They give us an opportunity to breath, to look at a photo and absorb the image, consider the detail and appreciate what is happening.

This year’s traveling exhibition displayed some of the biggest news stories from 2009, from the War in Gaza to US president Barack Obama’s inauguration to the protests in Iran after the disputed presidential elections. Most of the images were taken by professional photographers but for the first time in the competition’s 55 year history, the special mention award was given to a citizen journalist. Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi went to the exhibition to look at some of the iconic images of 2009.

Our Video of the Week is by a Listening Post favourite – San Francisco based animator, Mark Fiore. His latest video is a musical take on the latest documents released by WikiLeaks.

This episode of the Listening Post aired from Friday, December 17, 2010.