Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders has clarified its criticism of Wikileaks’ decision to publish more than 92,000 secret US Military documents online.
Last week, the charity accused the website’s founder Julian Assange of “incredible irresponsibility” saying that the documents relating to the Afghan war put lives in danger.
Reporters Without Borders last night attempted to rein in its criticisms, reaffirming its ‘support for Wikileaks, its work and its founding principles’and cautioning against attempts to ‘put words in its mouth”.
The organisation said:
‘Raising the question, as we did, of the danger of releasing certain sensitive data does not in any way constitute incitement to censorship or, less still, support for the war.
‘Should we be blamed for pointing out that the information provided by Wikileaks could be used by the Taliban and could serve as grounds for reprisals?
‘Is it contrary to a humanitarian organisation’s vocation to draw attention to the possible impact on human lives of high-risk information?
‘Is it wrong to point out that Wikileaks’ recent actions could backfire not only on itself but also on the independent researchers and journalists who cover these subjects online?”
Reporters Without Borders warned that the controversy surrounding Wikileaks’ publication of the secret military documents resulted in a ‘real threat to the website of closure in the United States and targeted persecution of its contributors”.
‘The US authorities would be very mistaken if they tried to use our criticism as support for a decision to silence Wikileaks.
‘The Obama administration made a serious mistake when it broke its promise to reveal the human, moral and financial cost of the ‘war against terror’ launched by President George W. Bush.
‘Wikileaks has rightly defied this blockade on access to information.”