Key people involved with WikiLeaks have reportedly resigned to start up their own rival whistle-blower site.
The new site is dubbed Openleaks, and will debut on Dec. 13, according to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. The news follows the arrest this week of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was picked up by police in the U.K. after Swedish authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual assault charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
According to the newspaper, those who resigned from WikiLeaks complained of Assange’s management style, and his use of the organization to explain his legal troubles. Still, one of the Openleaks’ organizers told the paper the new site will support WikiLeaks’ mission to provide information to the masses.
“Our long term goal is to build a strong, transparent platform to support whistle-blowers–both in terms of technology and politics–while at the same time encouraging others to start similar projects,” the source, who requested anonymity, was quoted as saying. “As a short-term goal, this is about completing the technical infrastructure and ensuring that the organization continues to be democratically governed by all its members, rather than limited to one group or individual.”
According to the report, Openleaks will not receive and publish information directly, but instead will offer other organizations access to material for possible publication. Internal documents shared with the reporter state Openleaks seeks to become a middleman with no political agenda other than “the dissemination of information to the media, the public, non-profit organizations, trade and union organizations and other participating groups.”
This approach, a source reportedly told the paper, is meant to avoid the kind of public pressure WikiLeaks has faced since publishing classified U.S. diplomatic cables online. Though businesses such as PayPal and MasterCard have cited terms-of-service violations as their reasons for cutting ties to WikiLeaks, many have suspected pressure from the U.S. government has also played a role.
“All editorial control and responsibility rests with the publishing organization,” the paper quoted a source as saying. “We will, as far as possible, take the role of the messenger between the whistleblower and the organization the whistleblower is trying to cooperate with. As a result of our intention not to publish any document directly and in our own name, we do not expect to experience the kind of political pressure which WikiLeaks is under at this time.”