Reporters Without Borders is astonished by Californian judge
Jeffrey White’s decision on 15 February to order the temporary closure
of Wikileaks http:///wikileaks.be/wiki/Wikileaks),
a US-based website that invites people to post leaked documents with the aim of discouraging unethical behaviour.
judge issued his order in a case brought by Swiss bank Julius Baer
& Co, which accuses Wikileaks and its hosting company Dynadot of
“publishing confidential information.” The documents, involving alleged
activities of the bank’s Cayman Islands branch, were posted on the site
at the start of the month. The case is to be reexamined on 29 February.
“This appears to be the first time a US court has
decided to close an entire website because of certain documents posted
on it,” Reporters Without Borders said. “In his ruling, the judge also
asked for the offending documents to be removed. Why wasn’t that
enough? Wikileaks enables dissidents to post documents regarded as
‘sensitive’ in their own country. The Julius Baer case must not be
allowed to prevent other key information from being made public.”
was not the first time a court action has been brought against
Wikileaks. Schillings, a London-based firm of lawyers and public
relations consultants, requested the site’s closure last November over
a leaked confidential memo about the ailing British bank Northern Rock.
reaction of the site’s founders and editors to the closure order has
been low-key. They simply described it as “unconstitutional” and
pledged that Wikileaks would continue to publish document demonstrating
the illegal activities of certain banks.
When contacted by
Reporters Without Borders, a Julius Baer & Co representative
declined to make any comment aside from saying the court action was
necessary to protect its interests.