44% of the British public believe online whistleblower WikiLeaks was right to publish classified military documents on the war in Afghanistan, compared to 36% who believe otherwise, a recent Sun poll reveals.
This follows a very public debate over the leaking of highly sensitive military logs, which include 90,000 documents detailing US army operations in Afghanistan, NATO concerns regarding Pakistan and Iran’s potential support of the Taliban and Afghan civilians killed by US troops.
WikiLeaks is an anonymous, Sweden-based website, represented by former hacker Julian Assange. Launched in 2006, it is intended to anonymously publish leaks of sensitive or controversial information, making it the subject of numerous suspicions and attacks, but also of praise for its desire to push boundaries. In 2008, it won the Economist magazine’s New Media Award.
Barack Obama has voiced concerns that the leaked information could present a threat to national security and to that of the troops in Afghanistan, while WikiLeaks maintains its actions were a legitimate bid to fight censorship and publicly disclose information in the nation’s interest.
TellYouGov users, or ‘tyggers’, have also waded into the debate: some applaud the move, stating that WikiLeaks is a ‘superb website that does democracy a favour’ and provides an ‘important public service of whistleblowing’, while others are alarmed that the site has published informants’ names, and worry this could ‘endanger lives’. As the news storm continues to gather over the debacle, watch this space to see how the ethics of the issue play out in the coming weeks.