What are WikiLeaks? Well, WikiLeaks is an international, online, non-profit, journalistic organization which publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources. According to an article by Steve Myers, "WikiLeaks has emerged as a new type of media player, an information broker that collects secrets and negotiates how they will be revealed." This type of journalistic behavior is not seen as ethical in today's society. The SPJ Code of Ethics clearly states, "Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with juveniles, victims of sex crimes, and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or unable to give consent. Consider cultural differences in approach and treatment." Part of WikiLeaks goes against the SPJ Code of Ethics because revealing state secrets on the site could potentially put national security at risk.
Just because WikiLeaks are available to the public, does not mean that they are necessarily ethical. The SPJ Code of Ethics also states, "Recognize that legal access to information differs from an ethical justification to publish or broadcast." If our national security is at risk, than there is no ethical justification to publish or broadcast that information.
Another SPJ Code of Ethics that WikiLeaks are going against is, "Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for access to news. Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not." WikiLeaks has not been following this ethical code. WikiLeaks have allowed The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel access to the Afghanistan war logs a month early as long as they kept quiet until WikiLeaks published them on its site. WikiLeaks is still bargaining with with multiple different news sources, which goes against the SPJ Code of Ethics.
The idea of WikiLeaks first started in 1993. Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, facilitated many groups who were bringing him information. Different groups were bringing him information about companies such as Telstra, and Australian Telecommunications; in which he then published information on. His empire started off smaller, and more innocent, growing exponentially with publicity. I believe that there is a fine line between news that is used for the greater well-being of mankind, and news that is harmful to our national security. Julian Assange crossed that line.