Trop d’informations

CANBERRAÀ l’heure où un tribunal britannique décide de l’éventualité de l’extradition de Julian Assange vers la Suède, et que les procureurs américains évaluent les charges criminelles à l’encontre du soldat Bradley Manning, la principale source présumée des révélations faites par le site WikiLeaks de Julian Assange, le débat continue un peu partout dans le monde pour déterminer si de telles révélations font plus de bien que de mal. Mais, trop souvent, ces débats restent polarisés sur l’opposition entre sécurité nationale et responsabilité démocratique, sans vraiment aborder les distinctions qui comptent réellement.

En matière de gouvernement, toute fuite est, par définition, embarrassante pour quelqu’un, quelque part, dans le système. La plupart des fuites sont susceptibles de comporter une forme de violation de la loi de la part de la source originelle, si non de celle de l’éditeur. Mais cela ne veut pas dire que toutes les fuites devraient être condamnées.

La leçon à retenir qui pose le plus de problèmes aux hauts responsables de gouvernements – y compris pour moi, en tant qu’ancien procureur général et ministre des Affaires Étrangères australien – est la futilité, dans la presque totalité des cas, d’essayer de poursuivre et de punir les responsables des fuites. Cela n’efface pas l’atteinte initiale, et contribue généralement à l’entourer de plus de publicité. Les médias ne sont jamais aussi enthousiastes au sujet de la liberté de parole que lorsqu’ils constatent qu’elle fait rougir, de rage ou d’humiliation, les puissants. Les poursuites tendent généralement à renforcer la stature des auteurs de fuites, ce qui invalide la capacité dissuasive des poursuites.

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