Translated by Hisham from بين ويكيليكس و”موروكوليكس” …
No one has ever shaken the world of electronic journalism as did the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. The man has published an unimaginable amount of political scandals about world leaders in a flood of information and classified documents. This is indeed the epitome of a new era of investigative journalism.
As people were talking a lot these days about investigative journalism, I took a stroll down my memory lane to remember a training I had years ago. It was conducted by Daoud Kuttab, chairman of the Arij Group. The workshop was organized by the International Center for Journalists in Washington. I’ve learned a lot from that. An investigative journalist is basically someone looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s an exhausting but very rewarding activity. You just keep your eyes on the goal and never leave a rock unturned. There are extremists in this department of course: some have faked mental illness to enter hospitals and live among patients to report on the way they were treated. Others went out of their way to look for very sensitive documents and talk to very dangerous people. Former Aljazeera’s Yusri Fouda is a pioneer in this regard.
My major concern however is to know whether Julian Assange is an honest journalist who works, as he claims, to bring the truth into light, or is he, as some suggested, an agent for some obscure intelligence services, playing a part in settling accounts between old rivalries.
I searched the name for a week using the C.A.R. technique and I asked some colleagues who actually met Assange when he visited the kingdom of Jordan. I reached the following conclusion: Assange lives inside a circle of sercrecy that is almost impossible to penetrate. But I still wonder: can a team as small as the one working for Wikileaks access this vast quantity of documents? I really doubt it.
Because who would protect Julian Assange from the intelligence services better than the illeligence services themselve?
The Intenet may look like a friendly technology it is fraught with risks and obstacles. A journalist needs to deal with it professionally and with great accuracy.
Morocco has not been spared by Wikileaks of course. Documents have been exposing taboos and secrets no one thought they would be revealed in a lifetime. Most of the cables were sent from the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, plus other sources scattered here and there. They dealt with relations between France and Morocco and further widened the gap between Rabat and Tehran. But, more importantly, the cables exposed the widespread problem of corruption that is seriuosly undermining our beloved country. The leaked cables have also shed light on the way wealth is being distributed between the elite and senior military and security officials… The crisis of confidence between people and their government has been further aggravated by Wikileaks revelations.
Like probably all other online activists and experts in new media and Internet culture, I often find myself wondering how this guy, Assange, succeeded in shaking the whole world? What if one among us Moroccans, started doing the exact same thing and published his or her own “Morocoleaks”. Certainly, he or she runs the risk of finding way more documents than what Wikileaks has been publishing about the country so far.
Such a project will definitely succeed. But then the risk for such publisher will either be one of two: he will either be framed for a crime he never committed or he will himself become a victim of the same censorship that is affecting the whole profession of journalism in this country.
In the end, I’d like to pay a tribute to Julian Assange and Wikileaks for the significant paradigm shift they offered us, electronic media professionals. Whether Assange is an honest man or not, he will go down in History as a symbol of investigative journalism, and an initiator of a new school that will leave its mark the world over.