Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wikileaks' Lessons for Media Theory and Politics


Regardless of whether one agrees with allegations that Wikileaks is an international security threat, a new media-facilitated champion of democratic accountability, or that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is a rapist, it is an unmistakably rich object of media and political analysis. Arguably, l’Affaire Wikileaks(hereafter WA) holds lessons about changing relations between new and old media forms and production; attention, circulation, media capital and celebrity; political economy and journalism; and even democracy and international relations.

The WA above all begs attention to attention.1 The affair, not just the material released, became a huge agenda-setter in 2010. Several news organizations dubbed it a “top” story of 2010.2 In Canada, Wikileaksfounder Assange was voted top newsmaker of the year by senior editors at Postmedia Network newspapers and canada.com.3 Even more impressively, Assange was nominated for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.4 Other global news organizations, such as France’s Le Monde, named him person of the year.

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