The Internet platform Wikileaks was founded by a group of anonymous users in 2006 with the sole purpose of practicing Freedom of Speech and furthering Freedom of Information but has only recently managed to gain press and media attention with the various accusations against its former spokesperson – now the force behind the project - Julian Assange and the publication of various secret documents relating to government and industrial activities around the world. The aim of Wikileaks remains the publication of otherwise secret information for the public good, and not the journalistic investigation or opinion-mongering normally associated with the mass media. Wikileaks offers no opinions on the documents which have been presented for publication through so-called Whistleblowers or disaffected former employees, and produces the information without comment or expansion through background information.
Whilst Wikileaks is predominantly financed through individual donations the platform, which is estimate to have costs of approximately six hundred thousand dollars a year, also receives non-financial assistance from lawyers and judicial financial assistance from such companies as the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press and the National Newspaper Association in the States.
One of the main aims of Wikileaks, in its present form, is to provide information for Investigative Journalism, a practice which has effectively been followed since 2007 when secret internal documents detailing massive and personal corruption in the Kenyan government of Daniel arap Moi were used by the British Guardian newspaper. However, the mere provision of information, regardless of how it is attained, is not a foundation of journalism in its purest sense. Rather it is a small, if important, part of the whole; an eyewitness to a road traffic accident, whilst providing information, would not be called a journalist regardless of the quantity or quality of information provided.
The methods used by Wikileaks, through Julian Assange, to publicize documents received and published on the site are also not compatible with either the idea or the methods of journalism. Here Assange uses the massed media as a tool for publicity, sharing the fact through press releases that certain documents have been received and giving, occasionally, a brief insight into their contents. There is no attempt to validate the veracity of these papers or their source, another indication which removes Wikileaks from the sphere of journalism.
Were Wikileaks to change its policy of publication at some time in the future to one including the consolidation of other sources of information and the commenting on that information, then it might be termed a journalistic service.