United States - Concern about judge's decision to close Wikileaks website

    MONTREAL, Feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ -  Reporters Without Borders is astonished
by Californian judge Jeffrey White's decision on 15 February to order the
temporary closure of Wikileaks (http://wikileaks.be/wiki/Wikileaks), a
US-based website that invites people to post leaked documents with the aim of
discouraging unethical behaviour.
    The judge issued his order in a case brought by Swiss bank Julius Baer &
Co, which accuses Wikileaks and its hosting company Dynadot of "publishing
confidential information." The documents, involving alleged activities of the
bank's Cayman Islands branch, were posted on the site at the start of the
month. The case is to be reexamined on 29 February.
    "This appears to be the first time a US court has decided to close an
entire website because of certain documents posted on it," Reporters Without
Borders said. "In his ruling, the judge also asked for the offending documents
to be removed. Why wasn't that enough? Wikileaks enables dissidents to post
documents regarded as 'sensitive' in their own country. The Julius Baer case
must not be allowed to prevent other key information from being made public."
    This was not the first time a court action has been brought against
Wikileaks. Schillings, a London-based firm of lawyers and public relations
consultants, requested the site's closure last November over a leaked
confidential memo about the ailing British bank Northern Rock.
    The reaction of the site's founders and editors to the closure order has
been low-key. They simply described it as "unconstitutional" and pledged that
Wikileaks would continue to publish document demonstrating the illegal
activities of certain banks.
    When contacted by Reporters Without Borders, a Julius Baer & Co
representative declined to make any comment aside from saying the court action
was necessary to protect its interests.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Secretary General,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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