The plenary panel of a recent Media, Communications and Democracy Conference revisited WikiLeaks, and I was honoured to sit next to two inquisitive thinkers on media and journalism to present some thoughts.
My paper gave a theoretical double take on the participatory transparency that wikileaks had, has, and may inspire in future. Too often political transparency is discussed in a spectrum strung between two poles (transparency v. secrecy – or even, less helpfully, v. ‘privacy’). The paper I gave attempts to act as a prism that refracts a spectrum of transparency across a multiplicity of iterative colours.
Thinking this way allows us to understand how each iteration de-forms to offer unique affordances through the constraints of medium and design with regards to its politics, transparency, and even radical democracy.
Where will this go? Recently, Anonymous claimed it will deploy radical participatory transparency as a weapon against drug lords, where institutional centers of power such as broadcast/print media and the state seem incapable of protecting citizens let alone providing a transparent account of failures of sovereign responsibilities.