There is quite a disagreement over the significance of the Wikileaks’ new material and I confess I am not a Guardian reader so did not manage to absorb their take on matters, yet.
Political Betting is rather dismissive of the whole matter, suggesting that it has displaced other more important items from the political agenda, and whilst that might be true, it seems to me to be taking a rather parochial and limited view of the many connected issues.
I do not think we fully appreciate how the Internet has changed our grasp of world events, power relationships and the control of the news agenda.
As I have argued before, national governments have made a concerted effort to restrict and control the Internet and they do so not because they are concerned particularly with pornography or downloading of films.
No, one of their prime concerns is controlling the flow of information and what people know about issues. That approach applies to dictatorial states across the world, such as China, Burma and parts of the Middle East, but not exclusively so, it also happens in Western countries, just in a far more subtle form.
Governments are, by their nature, in power, very literally. They want to control things, influencing how people perceive the world, how they perceive government policies and more critically, politicians.
The Wikileaks’ material makes it all the more harder for politicians to lie, fudge issues and mislead their constituents and the wider public, which is why it matters.
Nowadays we view world events in a completely different light than we did, say 30 years ago. We can obtain information and opinions from around the world, with a few exceptions. Aided by automatic translation tools we can read foreign media and gain insights into different countries, customs and attitudes.
So in all of that, we are less dependent on governments and media groups to feed us their predetermined agendas or shape how we see the world.
That is why the Wikileaks’ release has great significance.
On top of that we must not forget history, these documents provide a real insight into the shady world of governmental dealings. They confirm what many of us had suspected, and in doing so they are important, providing solid confirmation of how governments and politicians really work, beyond the public gaze. If we truly wish to hold politicians, political leaders and our rulers to account then we should welcome the released material.
Wikileaks’ work is a way of helping us to keep tabs on politicians and understand the underlying motivations behind the public face of governmental actions, behind the bland press releases, behind the fake smiles, which is why we should welcome it.