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Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?

 
 
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sleevelesssky Male
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  #1 Old 13-01-2011 Default Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?


Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?


Wikileaks, arguably the most famous (or infamous) whistle-blower website ever in history, has stirred up a storm of controversy by leaking confidential information of governments and corporations all over the world. While most countries have condemned the irresponsible actions of Wikileaks, a significant number of people, as well as many journalistic institutions, have chosen to defend Wikileaks on the basis of freedom of speech and information. However, is Wikileaks justified for the greater good - the greater good of all?

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  #2 Old 14-01-2011 Default Re: Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?

Neutral Opinion
Security is a zero-sum affair in international relations. One state’s or alliance’s gain in security is at the expense of an opposing state’s or alliance’s. The challenge to most states lies in balancing national security and civil liberty. Whether or not Wikileaks serves the greater good is contingent upon the extent its disclosed cables influence the tradeoff between national security and liberty. The thrust of the debate from my perspective thus lie in the countervailing forces of the marginal information to promote civil liberty brought by Wikileaks’ promotion of transparency against the marginal threat to national security that required secrecy.

Even good states commit evil sins. In pursuing national security the British Empire merciless suppressed its colonies by force - the Amritsar Massacre immediately comes to mind. Yet public pressure and dissenting internal voices fuelled by the press reined the British Empire’s violent tendencies. Hence, transparency is paramount so that citizens are aware of atrocities committed under their name. The Wikileaks cables released so far contain embarrassing news, but nothing that threatens national security. Were Congress to declare war on Iran, Americans may object to the caving in of the pressure exerted by America’s allies at the Gulf (as per the content of a leaked cable). Human right abuses of American soldies are exposed and can be dealt with swiftly. It is in instances like this that Wikipedia advances universal civil liberty without threatening a state’s security.

The argument challenging Wikileaks advancement of the greater good requires some counterfactual thinking. If the cables were to reveal classified military information - an assessment of a nation’s defense vulnerability for example – then it is unlikely that such additional information to promote civil liberty can ever outweigh the compromise on national security. Animals in the wild rarely engage in direct fight because none is certain of victory. In our world, peace prevails when two states are equally uncertain about each others’ military might, and thus disputes are contained in diplomatic tit-for-tat rather than interactions of mutual destruction. If however a cable detailing military vulnerability removes the uncertainty, then war becomes more probable as combat supplants negotiation as a preferable exercise of power.

Journalism, like science, is not the pursuit of truth at all cost. Journalism is governed by ethics as it affects the countervailing forces of national security and civil liberty. The greater good is served when the marginal benefit outweighs the marginal cost.

Last edited by kykoay; 14-01-2011 at 08:41 AM. Reason: To space out paragraphs, compliance to reader request
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  #3 Old 14-01-2011 Default Re: Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?

(not a debate post, but relevant nonetheless)

Can everyone head their post with something like

Opposing Statement, Speaker 1

or

Affirmative Statement, Rebut to Opposing Speaker 1


just so, when skimming the thread; its easier to catch the gist without reading too hard?


thanks.
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  #4 Old 14-01-2011 Default Re: Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eve88 View Post
(not a debate post, but relevant nonetheless)

Can everyone head their post with something like

Opposing Statement, Speaker 1

or

Affirmative Statement, Rebut to Opposing Speaker 1


just so, when skimming the thread; its easier to catch the gist without reading too hard?


thanks.
Supporting or Opposing will do just fine.
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  #5 Old 14-01-2011 Default Re: Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?

Supporting Statement

Whistleblower site Wikileaks has created havoc throughout the world with its plethora of exposes of secret diplomatic cables, something which has never happened before. Thanks to Wikileaks, the true face of world diplomacy, some surrounded by hatred, has finally been revealed. Regardless of its implications, I strongly believe Wikileaks is justified for the greater good of all.

All of us are particularly concerned with transparency and accountability, on how our government is run and how our money is spent. We need transparency for the global society that we have created. Some startling revelations by Wikileaks have enlightened the people that their governments have been abusing their power. The people have the right to know all secrets, although some might be deemed only appropriate to the government. After all, in a true democracy, the government is the servant and the people are the masters. A government is elected by the people through the ballot boxes and hence, the government is accountable to the masses. Thus, the people can judge for themselves the government of the day. These revelations show a seamy side of the political world, where we all had grounded suspicions, but no clear certainty. Without Wikileaks, these wrongdoings might not reach the public at all!

Wikileaks has brought a new dimension to the world of journalism. Freedom of speech and information, although enshrined in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, has never really been respected. We all long for the day when our journalists can relay all information without fear or favour and our media will provide adequate space for the opposition. The recent inquiry faced by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) president Hata Wahari is indeed a shame to journalism in Malaysia. Wikileaks must be seen as a tool that could open a new chapter in journalism. Indeed, our leaders should not feel agitated by the comments uttered by top Singaporean officials that Malaysian politicians are incompetent as these officials are free to speak their minds. While our leaders wasted no time in refuting this statement, perhaps it is time for our leaders to assess themselves and their performance. Wikileaks has definitely kept them on their toes. Regardless of one
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  #6 Old 15-01-2011 Default Re: Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?

Opposing statement

Wikileaks is founded on the principles of free speech; they provide an avenue for whistleblowers to let themselves be heard relatively safely. However, too much of a good thing can prove to be disastrous : Julius Assange himself admits that there may one day be "blood on our hands". Indiscriminate release of information endangers lives - be it military secrets, or tales of corruption. Lives, perhaps innocent ones, can be and will be damaged as repercussions from the infomation released will fall on the undeserved, sacrificed on the altar of public opinion, or by the hands of repressive governments.

What Wikileaks is advocating is free speech without considering its consequences - they do not do any analysis on the data they release, nor do they practise self-censorship. And with the way that Wikileaks is set up, they have tried to make themselves immune to repercussions from at least one party, the US government : the "Insurance File" released makes it so that persecuting Wikileaks is a risky business.

In addition, Wikileaks, without analysis, or indeed any sense of perspective on the raw data they release, creates magnet for sensationalist reporting; for the creation of irrational distrust between nations. In one sense, this is part of a wider problem : it is increasingly so that everyone has too much data, and not enough time or skill to make sense of it - and that is a dangerous thing.

In short, I believe that what Wikileaks is doing, allowing dissemination of potentially harmful information without trying to organise it, or considering the implications of it, is taking the concept of free speech too far: The right of free speech does not override the right of others to avoid unjust harm.
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  #7 Old 18-01-2011 Default Re: Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?

Supporting Statement

I would like to start off my point by saying that do you’ll agree that 1 + 1 =2 ? What about any other answers besides 2? Of course... we tend to oppose the idea with ayone else who said it isn’t 2. The idea of me stating this is to question the validity of our opinions. Are we told that by telling the truth is wrong ? And are we told that we should not voice out something that is deemed not right and is wrong. in this sophisticated world we are living in today, we tend to go with the flow, to follow what is said to be right. Sadly, we had indirectly conform ourselves into a world where there would never be mistakes and the only way to cover a mistake is to blame on the person who tells the truth.

Assange is actually speaking out for us...normal citizens...yes...his words his actions and his behaviour may seem deceiving...especially to the top guns of those so called Big guns country...nevertheless...if those so called big shots DID NOT do as what it ws leaked...do u think Assange would have so much solid information or points to reveal...Of course, all these sure comes with a reason...take an example for Malaysia...whenever people like Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh or Even thier fellow BN counterpart...Mohd Nazri reveals smthing tht may seen unpleasant...we go crazy and get so agitted over their point of view...We have to always know....the truth is not always as sweet as honey....sometimes things may be different from what you see.

From what you have previously mentioned, i dare say that why the main reason that Assange actions are not being supported is because those that do not share his points of view are that of mainstream papers...and what mainstream papers HAVE to report is yet another issue to be debated...

Again...this can well be reflected and seen again fron what is happening now in Malaysia...Do you ever see Berita Harian, New straits time or any other mainstream ENGLISH AND MALAY LANGUAGES paper even report something tha may seem deceiving to the BN party...answer is absolutely no..when teresa kok and the reporter plus RPK was locked and doomed to the ISA for one week plus there...have you ever see mainstream tv reporting news that are in favour of them...what i meant is facts and truth may b covered...justice is not at its realms...the twist and turn of facts and truth may sometimes blindfold one person mind and drastically change their point of view.

Thus, i AGREE totally with what Assange is doing...If it wasn’t for him...we as normal...poor tax-paying citizens, will not ever know the truth that is hidden at the back of us....and on top of that, I saluted him for his bravery to stand out and reveal all the top secret that sometimes deemed to be dirty. If everyone just seem to hide in their comfort and choose to sit in their own laurels, there wouldn’t be any changes done to eradicate what is rampantly happening now.....Assange gives us a light on what is hapenning in the world's politics, back in the 1960's and 1970's, if it wasn't for Mahatma Gandhi,
if it wasn't for Martin Luther King who dares to speak out the truth and brave enough to voice out their rights and reveal what is ACTUALLY AND INDEED HAPPENING... India and USA wouldn’t be what there are today and I bet we wouldn't even probably have Barrack Obama as the leader of one of the world most powerful and influential nation.

Hence, i would like to conclude my point by saying that Wikileaks is justified and it indeed should be continued for the greater good by being the voice four us people and poor citizens who are well being coned. Only when the wrong is right in the appropriate way, can we bring peace to all mankind. Thanks.
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  #8 Old 18-01-2011 Default Re: Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?

Opposing Statement

I believe that the unique role of Wikileaks has been over-emphasised. The revelation of documents intimately connected with diplomacy and national security is nothing new. A case in point: American news corporations have regularly reported on classified documents, some of which can be seen here: http://www.economist.com/node/176336...ry_id=17633606

Thus is it evident that Wikileaks is not the SOLE way or outlet for the public to receive classified documents and information. However, let me go on to show how Wikileaks differs from traditional news sources and why this holds some repercussions for the global community at large.

We should recognise that Wikileaks is in no way a total replica of said news corporations. Wikileaks lacks the accountability of established reporting sources, publishing what it sees fit, with no concern regarding their authenticity. This is exacerbated by the fact that Wikileaks enjoys cult-like status right now. People are willing to believe Wikileaks when it chooses to dump secret documents. This creates a problem. An informed democracy is created when the works of the government is revealed to the people, but a misinformed democracy is born when information is released without authentication, and also when information is released in a manner reminiscent of cherry-picking: Selecting only the rotten bits for the eyes of the public.

Wikileaks also enjoys some form of immunity from prosecution and persecution due to its multi-jurisdictional nature. This is ominous, because while established networks are incentivised to report responsibly because they can suffer the wrath of the government or the people, Wikileaks does not. This means that Wikileaks will not feel obliged to keep secret documents that might get people killed, nor will it withhold documents that jeopardise the framework of global peace.

Another problem with Wikileaks is that it comes under the purview of a single man, Julian Assange, which is troubling both in principle and in practice. Principally, when a single person chooses to wield this powerful tool Wikileaks, it is thoroughly undemocratic. Who is the organisation is to say which material is too harmful to be released, or which document should be released when? Mr Assange plays a game of brinksmanship and cat-and-mouse with governments who hunt him by released documents in timed intervals, and by having his own "Insurance file". This is not transparency, it is transparency handcuffed by a single person.
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Last edited by Alexis Ma; 18-01-2011 at 10:33 AM. Reason: Loading more ammunition into the argument gun.
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  #9 Old 06-02-2011 Default Re: Debate Battle 1: Is Wikileaks justified for the greater good?

Did anyone watch The Doha Debates on BBC? There was this debate on the motion "This House Believes That The World Is Better Off With Wikileaks."

At the end of the debate, the audience were given the opportunity to vote either for the motion or against the motion.

The results were 76% supporting the motion, with 24% against it.

However, I wouldn't say that it's representative of what the people in general thinks about Wikileaks, because we may very well believe that there are certain groups of people who might be biased for either side.

But of course, the debate in general, tackled issues that were relevant and thought-provoking. I thought that perhaps you could find it out in Youtube, if you are interested?
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