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Wiki Leaks functions as nonprofit making organization whose operations are worldwide. It seeks to expose information deemed classified, private and secret. However, the credibility of its source of information leaves a lot to be desired, as it is usually anonymous. Wiki Leaks operates a website where publication of this information happens. The website launched in 2006, operates under the Sunshine press. The founders of the site described to be a mixture of a start-up company, journalists, mathematicians and Chinese dissidents. Wiki Leaks works led to it receiving criticism and praise from different quarters. Those praising the site have bestowed awards to it as a reflection of their hard work, while those against the site, fought it indirectly through various agents.
Wiki Leaks received The Economist New Media Award and Amnesty International's Media award in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Among those opposing Wiki Leaks, are some of the United States government officials who air their criticism concerning the site arguing that they have exposed information considered classified, which might harm international security and diplomacy (Mataconis, 2010). This paper employs the use of purposive, principled and consequential moral reasoning in identifying the stakeholders in issues related to Wiki Leaks. In addition, the paper explores how the issue affects them. The paper also comments on how the stakeholders can deal with the situation in order to eliminate ethical dilemma.
This paper utilizes independent case studies to demonstrate the validity of various moral reasoning. It employs various case studies related to the works of Wiki Leaks. These works vary. A most recent case study employed is the leaking of the United States diplomatic cables, which began in November of 2010. In this case, Wiki leaks published correspondences between the United States state department and diplomatic missions affiliated to it, around the world. The information contained in the cables span across years and was an analysis of several world leaders, discussion concerning domestic and international issues and the assessment of countries hosting the diplomats. The second case study employed is the air strike by the United States army on Baghdad (McGreal, 2010). This case explicates Wiki Leaks cables concerning the United States airstrike on Baghdad killing innocent civilians and unarmed journalists. Wiki Leaks published this case study in April of 2010 although it took place in July twelfth, of 2007 (McGreal, 2010).
In the last few months, the wikileaks reports caught many by surprise. The United States together with other governments faced a difficult time trying to explain, to their people, whether the information brought forward by wikileaks carried any truth and fact. Wikileaks released a lot of confidential information on the operations of different governments. Some of these documents carried information that the public received with utter relief (Mataconis, 2010). However, wikileaks released other information that put the entire world public, in dismay because of the controversies in the wiki leaks. The release also touched on confidential information of the operations of chief organizations, in the whole world. The leaks also talked of influential government leaders and other influential people in the business sector and other sectors. As a result, of these governments, organizations and the influential people named in the leaks had to look for ways that they could respond, to the allegations brought forward, by the wiki leaks (Association, 2008).
Consequential reasoning played a significant role, in identifying the stakeholders in the situation and identifying how the issue affects them, to comment on the ways they would solve and deal with the situation, to eliminate ethical dilemma. Often people react to issues that come in to existence, especially when the issue affects them directly or indirectly. Because of the wikileaks governments, for instance the United States had to come out and clarify the allegations that had come out from the wikileaks report. Because of the report, the relevant stakeholders named in the leaks had to come out before the public knew exactly what had taken place. The stakeholders, for instance the United States of America came out and rejected almost all reports that the weak leaks had in its documents. The United States had to do this, to ensure that its citizenry and other people, in the world maintain their trust towards the United States of America (International Studies Association, 2008).
Another argument involves the fact that the stakeholders had to come out and defend themselves because of finding themselves named in a controversial leak. Often, when people find themselves, in controversial and threatening situations, they respond because of the situations that they find themselves. For instance, the united states, as a consequence of finding themselves in the wikileaks report, had its pentagon investigators try to determine the place where Julian Asange, the founder of the secretive website was, because they feared that he might publish a classified state department cable that could result to serious damage, to national security, if made public. The United States of America had to this as a consequential move towards the release of the wiki leaks. It had to do this to alleviate the effects of the leaks to the United States of America and eliminate ethical dilemma cause by the leaks. Because of the wikileaks the public would, question their satisfaction and trust towards the government. This may have created fear on the public. Therefore, the United States had to make a consequential move to ensure that the situation remained, in control and the public maintained their trust, to the government (Star, 2011).
The other governments and organizations did the same thing that the United States of America did. Most of them denied the allegations, some of which seemed true. They decided to deny all the information that the wikileaks had leveled on them, to try to investigate the issue. At one point, the United States of America government alleged that Asange had criminal charges, to answer. The media reports, in the United States once announce that the government had arrested one of the wikileaks sources. This happened because the United States of America wanted to destroy wiki leaks.
Another moral reasoning used to identify stakeholders involved and, to identify how the wikileaks issue affects them involves the issue about accountability. The governments and organizations named in the wikileaks report had to do something. The governments, as stakeholders have an accountability, to explain to their citizenry and the public of anything that does not satisfy them. The wikileaks had revealed information that carried controversial and sensitive topics. Some of the topics that the wikileaks reported touched on matters of national security. Therefore, the governments had to come in and explain the truth of the matter. The governments had the responsibility of ensuring the public of their security and alleviating the ethical dilemma caused buy the wikileaks reports. For instance, the United States of America government had to express concern towards the reports of the wikileaks cable. Through this, it could show that it has the accountability, to alleviate any fear created, to the public because of the wikileaks reports.
Because of accountability reasons, the United States government had to indicate how the issue could affect them. The United States of America had the responsibility, to ensure that its citizenry lived in a secure environment, and that it remained vigil to that extent. It indicated that the wikileaks report could have detrimental national security impact to the nation. Te government took responsibility to offer press releases and try to indicate its take on the wikileaks report. To lessen and undo the impact of the wikileaks report, the United States assured the public that it would reach the bottom of that matter. It indicated that it had delegated the duty of finding the founder of the wikileaks cable to highly ranked investigators. The United States of America linked the cable to criminals (International Studies Association, 2008).
In order to eliminate ethical dilemma that resulted from the wikileaks reports, the United States of America communicated to the public through the media, for instance, through the Newsweek, New York Times and The Daily Best newspapers. Two arguments come out of these. First, the stakeholders, for instance the United States of America had the accountability of responding to the wikileaks because the wikileaks had mentioned it as one of the key stakeholders. Therefore, it had the responsibility of responding for or against the accusations and allegations leveled towards it. Secondly, the stakeholders had the accountability to explain to the people, who could get affected by the reports of the wiki leaks, whether true or false. The United States of America did this through the media, as a way of maintaining public trust.
According to the principled, moral reasoning, the stakeholder in the United States diplomatic cables is Julianne Assange. This is so because the principled, moral reasoning states that whatever facts you state, you have to stand by them so for them to be believed and taken seriously. In this case, the leader of Wiki Leaks needs to stand by his arguments if Wiki Leaks allegations are to be trusted. In addition, Wiki Leaks needs proof to show that it adheres by the principle of "doing unto others what you would wish to be done unto you". Wiki Leaks have to show that their allegations are not guided by vested interests, but that they are acting in a manner which would befit them in case they are caught in the same situation as the United States state department.
This may affect Wiki Leaks negatively if the allegations established as lies. One of the ways that Wiki Leaks will suffer effects is the loss of credibility worldwide. So far, many people trust Wiki Leaks to be a credible source of classified information, and in case some proof surfaces establishing information given by Wiki Leaks to be false, this will dent their image significantly. Another way that Wiki Leaks will suffer effect is the closure of their website by the United States government, as they will argue it is a threat to the world's peace and diplomacy. Thirdly, Wiki Leaks will lose its partners like the gazettes which publish the information provided by them. The Newspaper companies located in different countries will pull out of trust between them and Wiki Leaks, as they will be considering the safety of their business above the interests of Wiki Leaks.
To eliminate ethical dilemma in this situation, Wiki Leaks should publish information which does not dent the image and credibility of the United States state department. In case, it has information which will result in a situation of conflict, Wiki Leaks needs to completely establish that the information they are about to release is credible, and they have sources and proof as to why they released the information concerning the United States department.
The second research finding focuses on purposive moral reasoning in relation to the Baghdad air strike. The air strike happened in twelfth July of 2007 and involved a team of the United States Army. The airstrike conducted by use of Apache Helicopters during the Iraq war led to publishing of gun sight footage by Wiki Leaks reviling deaths of Iraq civilians and journalists. Wiki Leaks released this publication in April of 2010 (International Studies Association, 2008). The stakeholder in this case is the government of the United States, as they have to come with reason as to why they had to conduct that attack leading to deaths of innocent people. In addition, the United States government is the stakeholders since it can argued that employed the use of excessive force against people who were not armed and were innocent (McGreal, 2010).
The publishing of the information affects the United States government in several ways. As one of the world's super powers and democracy, the country is expected to exercise restraint in the way it acts on certain situations. This gun sight publication dents the image of the United States and questions its use of power, as in this case, it seems applied excessively (McGreal, 2010). The interests of the United States in Iraq are questioned from the way they conducted the operation. Other countries might criticize the United States as having their own interests in the region rather than looking or terrorist. The footage depicts the cruel nature of the United States army, and this makes other country to shy away from seeking their help in case faced with internal problems.
To eliminate ethical problems, the government of the United States should not pressure Wiki Leaks to return all the information related to that case, but they need to come up with credible reasons as to why the attacks happened the way they did. That will formulate the purpose for their actions. For instance, they can argue two of the journalists who died were mistaken to be targeting the helicopters as their cameras were elevated towards the helicopter's direction. Another way the United States employed to eliminate ethical dilemma is claiming that two of the dead victims were insurgents as they were in possession of AK 47 rifle and an RPG-7. These two reasons validate the United States reason for attacking the people in Baghdad the way they did. In addition, it eliminates ethical dilemma as it answers the questions posed by Wiki Leaks concerning the air strikes.
Since the wikileaks came in to existence, and started publishing confidential reports, it gained a lot of publicity. The wikileaks reported confidential information on governments, with the United States of America taking center stage. It focused on the cables of the united states of American embassies throughout the world. This represented the largest disclosure of confidential information regarding governments and organizations. Because of this, several competing arguments came out, as forms of formal reasoning. Purposive, principled, consequential and confidentiality forms of moral reasoning form examples of competing arguments used.
They identify the stakeholders in the situation, and identify how these issues affect them. They also bring forth the reasons making the stakeholders to comment on the ways they intend to deal or solve the situation, to eliminate ethical dilemma. In deed, the wikileaks website shed some light to certain issues that remain controversial up to today. Many people cannot ascertain whether the wikileaks published information because, the people involved, in it have criminal records. In addition, the United States government response to some of the reports by Wikileaks leaves a lot to be desired in relation to their innocence of the matters.