It was a pretty interesting Media Panel at LeWeb ’10 in Paris, France. They discussed something on the minds of most: WikiLeaks. Most backed the site, warning that what’s happening to the site is a dangerous foray into Web censorship.
Weblogs SL’s Julio Alonso was first up, and he said
“We’ve always had leaks … the Wikileaks phenomena is not new … I totally feel that this is a turning point for the Internet; it’s not just about WikiLeaks anymore. It’s about … who puts the limits on freedom of speech and how those limits get executed. Whatever happens to WikiLeaks will is going to get applied to a lot more organizations later on.”
Pierre Chappaz of Wikio said,
“What is happening now is an infowar. This is the first global attempt of censorship at the global level against Internet and this attempt is made by all the governments of the planet … Despite all the attacks, I’m optimistic that the information will survive.”
Techmeme’s Gabe Rivera noted that Tuesday
“Sen. Lieberman suggested that even The New York Times itself could be a target of investigation, urging the Justice Dept. to look into what they did. It underscores that there’s really no essential difference between what WikiLeaks is doing and what The New York Times does. Fundamentally, there’s so much in common that we (the media) all have something to be concerned about.”
The Wall Street Journal Europe’s Ben Rooney added,
“We’ve pushed the theory of Internet censorship right to the very edge. Taking out the DNS records was a very significant move and has revealed a very weak point on the Internet.”
When asked about possible defensive measures that Wikio might need to take after these event, Chappaz added,
“The first thing is we have to speak about what’s happening. I’m amazed by the silence of the traditional media … I have not seen a global article analyzing what is happening which is a systematic attack to put them off of the Internet. We have to explain to the traditional media that they have to defend Wikileaks because the stakes are about the free press. If Wikileaks is liquidated, then the liberty of the press will be liquidated as well, because how could you criminalize Wikileaks and not the New York Times, or Le Monde, or Der Spiegel who have taken this information and distributed it to their readers? Wikileaks is a part of this media landscape and deserves the same kind of protection as the press.”
The session eventually moved to a Q&A, and into the area of Net Neutraliy. Chappaz closed the session with the following statement:
“The Internet went out of control from the powers, and also from the economic powers. We are entering a phase where the telcos try to catch up with the Net Neutrality debate, and the governments are doing the same. But it may be too late, because the Internet is now so strong that I believe they’ll have a hard time putting it under control.”
Watch the 40 minute session in the sidebar.