The Value of Information

English: The logo used by Wikileaks
English: The logo used by Wikileaks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may already know that WikiLeaks released a draft chapter of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) treaty Wednesday. The leaked chapter deals with intellectual property, but moves far beyond any copyright controversy. The Verge reports that Knowledge Ecology International called it “bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine, and profoundly bad for innovation.”

The Verge’s report is more technical. The Guardian’s story is more mainstream. See this document (PDF) from Public Citizen for a more detailed, wonky summary of “What’s New in the WikiLeaks TPP Text?”

The free trade treaty (being negotiated in secret by the governments of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam and the United States) threatens to come into force with very little public discussion. One task of serious journalism is to force transparency in government.

This is why a completely unrelated development is certainly symbiotic. Pierre Omidyar announced the hiring of former Rolling Stone executive editor Eric Bates for his new journalistic venture, as yet unnamed. This project (dubbed “NewCo” for now) collects storied investigative reporters (Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Milwaukee native Jeremy Scahill) with other journalists to create a serious 21st century media outlet. Omidyar says “Eric will be instrumental in helping us define our editorial strategy for a general-interest audience as well as the editing infrastructure we will need to support our independent journalists.”

I believe that this project could set a new standard for journalism, one that helps us all become better informed, and ultimately, more active citizens. If anyone over there is listening, I’d love to be part of it!

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