Friday, 26 November 2010

D-notice issued over Wikileaks

Its being confirmed at the moment that there has been a media D-notice issued over the upcoming release of Wikileaks diplomatic cables. This is of course an attempt to limit the damage these releases are going to do. The projected damage to international relations is unpredictable, but most people seem to think it'll be pretty severe, if not disasterous. Since no one knows what the heck Wikileaks actually has for sure, its hard to predict.

D-notices are of course bloody stupid in the modern world, since all they do is attempt to stop mainstream news outlets reporting on a story. The problem is that there are tens of thousands of outlets who are not affected by D-notices, including yours truly. In the final analysis I may well not write anything on it because A) I doubt I'll read any of the material first hand and B) Far far more significant minds than mine will do far better pieces on it.

All a d-notice will serve to do is limit the exposure those least interested in current affairs have. So you'll be stopping people who don't care, reading about something they arent interested in, and probably don't understand. What a staggering victory that will be.

Also, theres a good chance that at least some of the main media outlets will publish and be damned. There is no reason for them not to, a D-notice is a request, not an order, and if the material released is good enough, they'll go for it anyway.

The collosal power of Wikileaks will grow once more with this release, and there is still no sign anyone in any world Government has the first idea what to do.


  1. D notice = out of date and out of touch.
    The truth can't be hidden!

  2. Hi,
    Not sure I agree with that. D-notices are all voluntary anyway and don't have any legal force, so its not at all like the Trafigura libel injunction which I've seen some people excitedly comparing it to.

    Second, if there are any restrictions sought it would most likely be around not highlighting documents which name people who might be providing intelligence to minimise any risk they are exposed to.

    So I don't get why you would call them "bloody stupid" - they only ever worked if people agreed to them. In that way they were similar to the agreement not to report that Harry was in Afghanistan, which was perfectly sensible until it was screwed up by Drudge.

  3. A DA-notice is kind of a bizarre choice to be honest - I could see it having a meaningful effect (maybe) if the information was going to be released through a responsible media outlet in the first place, as that might actually prevent sensitive information getting into the public domain. But it's not as if Wikileaks gives a damn, so the DA-notice does nothing to prevent release of information, at which point the papers might as well cover it anyway.

    So yes, good job government - all they've achieved is piquing geeks' interest.

    Given the UK's recent common-sense failures regarding people saying things on the internet, I'll probably avoid posting about it when the release does come - who knows if I can get done under the Official Secrets Act for a tweet these days :(