That Bradley Manning looked about 12 when led away from court, after being found guilty of leaking US state secrets, probably says it all.

Whistleblowing is certainly a noble endeavour. But the thing is that whistleblowing should always be for the wider good. And I’m not certain that Bradley Manning’s leaking to Wikileaks, who then diseminated the information willinilly (with seemingly little journalistic integrity), was wholeheartedly in the public interest.

Journalists exist for a reason – to determine what information should be disseminated. Some thought needs to be given to when governments should be embarrassed. Of course, a great deal of information that is kept secret does need to be exposed. But there is also a very justifiable need for secrecy among governments. And there needs to be some serious consideration given to where that boundary lies.

Neither Julius Assange, the founder of wikileaks, who professes to be a journalist, and Bradley Manning, who never professed such a thing, gave the leaked information such consideration – and, for that reason, they are both a dangerous impediment to our society.

They may ultimately have done some good, in certain ways, but in other ways they may have done a great deal of harm – and even have cost lives. That is the reason Manning is now going to gaol and why Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Yes, freedom of information is vitally important and whistleblowers will always be needed. But before savaging the US government, one should bare in mind that there must always be a careful selection of what should be uncovered and what should not.

That’s why the media exists. In this era of open information, it’s needed more than ever.


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