“New media landscape”

Clay Shirky thinks the media has failed to appreciate the full significance of WikiLeaks:

“WikiLeaks allows leakers transnational escape from national controls. Now, and from now on, a leaker with domestic secrets has no need of the domestic press, and indeed will avoid leaking directly to them if possible, to escape national pressure on national publishers to keep national secrets.

WikiLeaks has not been a series of unfortunate events, and Assange is not a magician – he is simply an early and brilliant executor of what is being revealed as a much more general pattern, now spreading.

The state will fight back, of course. They will improve their controls on secrets, raise surveillance and punishment of possible leakers, try to negotiate multilateral media controls. But even then, the net change is likely to be advantageous to the leakers – less free than today, perhaps, but more free than prior to 2006. Assange has claimed, when the history of statecraft of the era is written, that it will be divided into pre- and post-WikiLeaks periods. This claim is grandiose and premature; it is not, however, obviously wrong.”

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