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Responsible journalism? WikiLeaks, the diplomatic cables and freedom of expression in a U.K. context

Tambini, Damian (2013) Responsible journalism? WikiLeaks, the diplomatic cables and freedom of expression in a U.K. context. Policy and Internet, 5 (3). pp. 270-288. ISSN 1944-2866

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Identification Number: 10.1002/1944-2866.POI333


This article develops a new analytical model for understanding the legal and ethical responsibilities of “news leak” sites. Focusing on the case study of WikiLeaks, and in particular the national security implications of the U.S. Cables release, it provides an authoritative summary of the relevant human rights law with a focus on the European Convention on Human Rights and draws on U.K. case law to discuss the likelihood that WikiLeaks could successfully claim free speech protection on the basis of the argument that it acted responsibly and ethically in the public interest. The article outlines WikiLeaks' editorial processes based on analysis of individual cables, and published accounts by WikiLeaks staff and media partners and applies the new analytical framework to WikiLeaks. After developing an analytical framework based on key legal standards, the article finds that the site operated with several different approaches to editorial ethics during its brief history and outlines a new approach to responsible publication for adoption by organizations that seek to emulate the leaks site.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Policy Studies Organization
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
J Political Science > JZ International relations
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2013 13:54
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:34

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