Demasiada información

CANBERRAMientras un tribunal británico evalúa si Julian Assange debería ser extraditado a Suecia, y fiscales estadounidenses analizan los cargos penales que presentarán contra el soldado Bradley Manning, la supuesta fuente relevante que hizo las revelaciones publicadas por el sitio WikiLeaks de Assange, no cesa el debate global sobre si este tipo de revelaciones causan más beneficios que problemas. Pero, muchas veces, se polariza ese debate como seguridad nacional vs. responsabilidad democrática, sin que se les dé lugar a las distinciones que realmente importan.

En el gobierno, toda filtración es, por definición, comprometedora para alguien, en algún lugar del sistema. La mayoría de las filtraciones probablemente impliquen alguna infracción de la ley por parte de la fuente original, si no del editor. Pero eso no significa que todas las filtraciones deban ser condenadas.

Una de las lecciones más difíciles de aprender para los altos funcionarios del gobierno -incluso para mí, cuando me desempeñé como fiscal general y ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Australia- es la inutilidad, en todos los casos excepto una pequeña minoría, de querer procesar y castigar a los responsables de las filtraciones. Así no se repara el daño original y, por lo general, éste resulta exacerbado debido a la mayor publicidad. Los medios nunca son tan entusiastas sobre la libertad de expresión como cuando ven que les enrojece el rostro de furia o humillación a quienes están en el poder. Una acción judicial normalmente aumenta la talla de quienes filtran información, lo que la convierte en un método de disuasión inútil.

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