The whole world came to a standstill at November 28, 2010 when an independent website, Wikileaks started to distribute detailed confidential documents (diplomatic cables) regarding US State department and its diplomatic missions all over the world. These confidential diplomatic cables were retrieved by Wikileaks from unknown source, but these were highly classified documents and were stolen from the secret database of US Government.
These confidential cables were sent to Wikileaks by an unknown source and Wikileaks reported that they received around 260,000 confidential cables, and at November 28, 2010, Wikileaks started publishing these cables and also distributed some to major news agencies. Wikileaks is publishing these documents in series with 80 documents per day, if going at this pace it will take almost ten years to release all documents.
The cables Wikileaks published created a buzz among journalists and politicians of different countries, many note-able personalities of eastern world commented on these cables and some rejected them as fake but interestingly there was no or minimum response from USA. These documents changed the political scenario of whole world and affected the international relations between different countries.
The cables regarding the eastern countries like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan etc, revealed the things the presidents of these countries think about each other and what USA's perspective on these countries is, these cables created ferocity among the people, and affected international relations, but gave journalists lots of stuff to talk about.
These leaks have shifted the paradigm of political debates, it revealed how USA is exploiting other countries to gain its own advantage, and the Afghan files leaked earlier this year showed the real picture to the world. USA is most affected by these leaks as all the leaks are directly or indirectly refer to it. The proud politician of the eastern world also faced criticism by their own people.
The biggest debate regarding these leaks is that how such classified cables were leaked, right under the nose of US security departments? And whether this is legal to publish such documents?
Wikileaks is an international nonprofit organization and it publishes the submission of private secret and classified source from anonymous sources, it was established in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organization. Wikileaks operate as a news agency that can publish any leaked document regarding governments of any country; it is an international organization so it has no boundaries limits. But after publishing these cables, the governments of many countries mark this as an illegal and put pressure on Wikileaks to discontinue its operations. But Wikileaks defended its position by declaring that Freedom of Press allows them to tell the world truth and that Wikileaks operates under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers"
Whereas the Freedom of Information Legislations grant access to the data held by state.
Wikileaks is justified by its releasing of government data, because the legislation do not clarify that which data should be accessible and which should not. It is important to note that no cable release by Wikileaks is marked top-secret.
The journalists and political science analysts are analyzing different aspects of these leaks and their impact on the world. Most of the things revealed by the leaks were known, but were just speculations and these leaks confirmed them, like relationship between USA and Pakistan, and the facts regarding Afghan and Iraq war.
Julian Assange is the Editor in Chief of Wikileaks and has won many distinction awards, he won Economist Index on Censorship Award in 2008; Amnesty International UK Media Award (New Media) in 2009 and in 2010 he was awarded Sam Adams award. But after these cables were released on November 28, 2010, Assange faced the worst criticism from high-profile personnel all over the world whereas the people and journalists claimed him as the hero by telling the people about things they were ignorant of.
Earlier this year at August 20, 2010 the Swedish police had opened an investigation against Assange for the sexual assault of two women aged 26 and 31. And at December 7, 2010 he was arrested in UK and is in custody at present.
Wikileaks official website has been blocked by many countries and some influential countries tried to hack and shut down this website but all in vain. Wikileaks revealed the real face of some so-called super powers and brought politics and journalism to all new level. Although the site has been banned by many countries and the Chief Editor is facing trial but it has triggered the fire. Many new websites are being launched, leading government of different countries with no chance but to act fair and to respect others.