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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

is a nonprofit website dedicated to leaking sensitive documents.

WikiLeaks was by an international group of activists that included , the site’s current editor.

WikiLeaks is and does not accept government or corporate funding. The site in early 2010 while asking for donations to cover its $600,000 annual budget, then in late 2011 after several financial companies blocked many of its donations. It was reported to be in mid-2012 and ultimately in 2012, against $507,000 in expenses. In October 2012, it to a leak of U.S. presidential campaign documents. Later that year, with the goal of serving as a conduit for donations to WikiLeaks and other journalistic groups focused on government transparency.

Despite its name, WikiLeaks is as a . The site has and numerous other contributors to verify and contextualize leaks. It is supposedly run in conjunction with a nine-member advisory board, though have said they were unaware they were on it. The site has multiple servers around the world, with its primary server in Sweden, where journalists are prevented by law from revealing anonymous sources.

The site has posted leaked documents and videos, including a of civilians being killed in the Iraq War, a , a , and the so-called “” emails. In 2010, the site made four major releases: a of military forces killing civilians in Iraq, documents on the , documents on the , and several thousand . WikiLeaks of those diplomatic cables in 2011 after they were inadvertently made public online. The source of those four releases, U.S. Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning, , was held for more than three years before being of several charges including theft and violating the Espionage Act, though she was acquitted of a more serious “aiding the enemy” charge. Manning was for the leaks.

The site has also leaked other documents since then, including more than 2 million in 2012. In 2013, it of 1.7 million already-public U.S. diplomatic cables from the 1970s.

WikiLeaks has been to traditional . Its stated goal is to publish documents “,” and Assange has said that he sees his organization working to fill the gaps where journalists are either unable or unwilling to publish leaked information. He has also said he at least as much as a journalist.

WikiLeaks has had  with media organizations in several countries, including Germany, and receives occasional legal assistance from several American news organizations. The site has also considered to news outlets.

Numerous governments and private organizations have attempted to investigate or censor WikiLeaks, including the , the , the Swiss bank , and the . WikiLeaks was working in early 2010 with the government of Iceland to establish the strongest source protection and freedom of speech laws in the world. The U.S. government has classified WikiLeaks as an . The FBI through 2013, including through a paid informant working as a volunteer, though the U.S. Department of Justice had reportedly by late 2013.

WikiLeaks was as a political party in Australia, where Assange in fall 2013 elections.

WikiLeaks has been for not vetting sources thoroughly enough and for its of published leaks. It has also drawn criticism for its own and for . After Assange’s arrest and incarceration for sexual assault accusations in Sweden, WikiLeaks slowed its publication and released less consequential leaks, leading some observers to the site is in a .

In July 2012, WikiLeaks involving a fake New York Times column alleging that companies had blocked payments to it because of pressure from the U.S. government.

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: December 5, 2013.
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