WikiLeaks was irresponsible: Wikipedia co-founder
Kuala Lumpur: Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy
Wales said that whistle-blower website WikiLeaks'
decision to publish entire contents of classified US military
documents was irresponsible and could put innocent lives at
WikiLeaks drew worldwide publicity in late July when
it posted a huge trove of secret US military documents about
the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US Defence Department
has warned it could have blood on its hands for publishing
documents that name Afghan sources.
Wales said he supported the need for avenues for
whistle-blowers to expose wrongdoing but called for
journalistic integrity and responsibility to censor unrelated
information that could put people in danger.
"The issue that I have with WikiLeaks is they have a
tendency to just want to publish absolutely everything, and I
think that can be very, very dangerous," Wales told a business
conference in Malaysia's largest city, Kuala Lumpur. "I don't
think (WikiLeaks founder) Julian Assange wants those people
killed. However, if he irresponsibly follows the policy of
releasing absolutely everything, it is incredibly dangerous
for those people.
"I think it is really important when we have sensitive
information, that we do rely on responsible journalists to
sort through it for us. It's much better than dumping all
kinds of crazy information online and get people killed."
Assange has defended WikiLeaks' policy, saying the
goal was to give a complete picture of the war efforts and a
more accurate account of civilian deaths. He has also said the
documents didn't reveal troop movements or other sensitive
Wales said WikiLeaks got famous in the first place by
using the word "wiki," which he said was unfortunate.
"I have absolutely nothing to do with WikiLeaks and I
don't even approve of what they are doing," he said. "I would
distance myself from WikiLeaks. I wish they wouldn't use the
name. They are not a wiki."
The WikiLeaks leak is unrivalled in its scope, but so
far there is no evidence that any Afghans named in the leaked
documents as defectors or informants from the Taliban
insurgency have been harmed in retaliation.