Leader: In praise of WikiLeaks

There is much to applaud in WikiLeaks's latest dis­closure. Hillary Clinton may have called it an "attack on the international community", but it has rightly been welcomed by advocates of open government. The leak is not without faults. Information floods provide content, but not always context. Likewise, fears of future leaks might stymie frank diplomatic discussion. This does not make what we have learned any less valuable, however.

The duplicity of US foreign policy in the Middle East has been laid bare. Meanwhile, China's true relationship with North Korea has been revealed. The leaks herald the beginning of the end of secrecy and double dealing in government. As Carne Ross argues on page 22, the pervasive scrutiny of websites such as WikiLeaks has ended the ability of governments to say one thing and do another.

Its anarchic methods may not be ideal, but WikiLeaks improves our understanding of the world and provides for more open and honest government. We are all better off for its existence.

This article first appeared in the 06 December 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Vietnam: the last battle