Drip, drip, drip

March 17th, 2009 by Ilya Marritz

At Wired, David Kravets frets that the Obama administration won’t change course on the pending international treaty on counterfeiting. Among other things, the agreement is rumored to make peer-to-peer filesharing a crime and open the door to iPod searches by law enforcement. That scuttlebutt courtesy of Wikileaks, since FOIA requests for the treaty have been turned down by Team Obama.

Though it may only scratch the surface, the Wikileaks page on the Proposed US ACTA multi-lateral intellectual property trade agreement (2007) is mind-numbingly detailed. There’s also more than a whiff of judgment about the document’s goals:

In 2007 a select handful of the wealthiest countries began a treaty-making process to create a new global standard for intellectual property rights enforcement, which was called, in a piece of brilliant marketing, the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (the agreement does not cover currency fraud)

The page traces the treaty’s origins to a handful of U.S. legislators who’ve taken campaign contributions from big entertainment companies.

Worth a listen, then, if you didn’t catch it this weekend, is On The Media’s interview with Wikileak’s investigations editor, Julian Assange.

BOB GARFIELD: Investigative reporters and news organizations have feasted on the documents provided by whistleblowers since time immemorial, but when information is particularly sensitive, the news organizations typically will give the government an opportunity to persuade the news organization that, for whatever reason, it is extremely dangerous to release some or all of what has been leaked. Why is that such a bad idea?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, CBS followed that practice for eight months, concealing Abu Ghraib, until it was scooped by The New Yorker. So that kind of practice is not something that journalism should be proud of, whatsoever.

You have to think where your loyalties are. And for a news organization, that primary loyalty should be to its readers or it should be to its sources. Our primary loyalty is to our sources, secondary loyalty to our readers.

Some questions I am left with:

– A news organization whose primary loyalty is to its sources? Isn’t that what got Judith Miller in trouble?

– How is Wikileaks’ record holding up? How many egregious errors so far?

– About that anti-counterfeiting treaty: what part of it merits classification as, er, classified?

One Response to “Drip, drip, drip”

  1. WIKILEAKS is amazing. But- they ignore the REAL story here- its not the Congressmembers who have been the most bribed by the major media corporate octopi- its Obama.
    Check out HIS biggest campaign contributors- Time Warner, Viacom (National Amusements), plus Google and Microsoft.
    THERE’s the key to ACTA being passed, in virtual secrecy.

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