WikiLeaks, web to revolutionize reporting: Pilger

Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:24am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Revelations on the WikiLeaks website which have enraged governments around the world should force the traditional media to rely less on official sources, award-winning journalist John Pilger said.

In an interview to discuss his film "The War You Don't See," the veteran Australian reporter told Reuters the internet, and more specifically WikiLeaks, would bring about a "revolution" in journalism which too often failed to do its job properly.

One reason the media did not challenge the U.S. and British governments' justification for going to war in Iraq in 2003, later shown to be misplaced, was their eagerness to believe the official version of events, Pilger argued.

He said the same was true of television coverage of the Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, when British broadcasters appeared willing only to use Israeli video rather than trawling the internet for alternative footage.

"That mindset that only authority can really determine the 'truth' on the news, that's a form of embedding that really now has to change," said Pilger, who has covered conflicts in Vietnam and Cambodia, written books and made several acclaimed documentaries.

"There's no question about the pressure on it to change coming from the internet and coming from WikiLeaks -- it will change," he added in the interview ahead of Tuesday evening's broadcast of his new film.

"That is the canker in all of this, it's the compulsion to quote, not necessarily believing the authority source. But then once you quote it and you put it out on the wires or you broadcast it, it takes on a sort of mantle of fact and that's where the whole teaching of journalism is wrong.

"Authority has its place, but the skepticism about authority must be ingrained in people."   Continued...

<p>A screen shot of a web browser displaying the WikiLeaks website with a picture of its founder Julian Assange in Bern December 4, 2010. REUTERS/Pascal Lauener</p>