Archive for desember 13th, 2021

desember 13, 2021

Looking for Needles in a Haystack – Libraries and the Assange Case

Photo: Ivan Radic (CC BY 2.0)

>> See even part 2 and part 3.

By Mikael Böök, Isnäs, Finland

Presently, I am trying to find supporters of Assange and WikiLeaks among the librarians. I’m sure there are some. Indeed, there must be many! Think of it, librarians are educated and enlightened people, who support democracy and therefore promote access to information. Yet all those providers of access to information, the public librarians, are evidently keeping their sympathy for Julian Assange for themselves, deep in their hearts…  Because when one tries to dig up some evidence of their sympathy from the public sphere, it is like looking for the famous needle in the haystack!

By the way, what would the public sphere be without the librarians and their libraries? Certainly not a democratic one, anyway.  Sadly, however, one must also admit that the public sphere can be very undemocratic in spite of the existing libraries and librarians. 

I have to modify what I wrote above a little because sometimes one actually finds the needle (although the probability is as low as that of winning the Jackpot).  

Once upon a time the library associations of Norway did, in fact, make a common public statement. They said: 

«It is a fundamental principle of a democracy that the population should have insight into the decisions and decision-making processes that concern them. Open societies are an obstacle to corruption and abuse of power. WikiLeaks has contributed to increased transparency for the general public by bringing to the public conditions that deserve to be criticized. Attempts to close WikiLeaks are characterized by hasty reactions, which as of today have not been sanctioned in any courtroom. This could threaten freedom of information.» (I am responsible for the tentative translation of this passage from Norwegian into English).

But that was back in 2010, and today that rare needle has lost its thread and guiding principle. Or so it seems because the WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange need our support more than ever now, in 2021. Where is our necessary support now? 

FAIFE, the committee within IFLA (International Federation of Library Association and Institutions) was founded to defend and promote …

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