WikiLeaks was launched in 2006 under the Sunshine Press organisation that after a year of its launch already had 1.2 million doccuments. WikiLeaks describe themselves as ” a non-profit media organization dedicated to bringing important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for independent sources around the world to leak information to our journalists. We publish material of ethical, political and historical significance while keeping the identity of our sources anonymous, thus providing a universal way for the revealing of suppressed and censored injustices.”
WikiLeaks’ founders are described as a mix of Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Julian Assange, an Australian internet activist is generally described as its director.
WikiLeaks has received praise as well as criticism. The organisation has won a number of awards, including The Economists’ New Media Award in 2008 and Amnesty International UK Media Award in 2009. In 2010, the New York City Daily News listed WikiLeaks first among websites “that could totally change the news”, and Julian Assange was named the Readers’ Choice for Time’s person of the year i n 2010.The UK Information comissioner has stated that ‘WikiLeaks is part of the phenomenon of the online, empowered citizen’. In its first days, an internet petition calling for the cessation of extra-judicial intimidation of WikiLeaks attracted over six hundred thousand signatures.Supporters of WikiLeaks in the media and academia have commended it for exposing state and corporate secrets, increasing transparency, supporting freedom of the press, and enhancing democratic discourse while challenging powerful institutions.