Empirical research uses scientific methods to reach explanations of the world as it is. There exist scientific methods that are used to observe, make an understanding and offer an explanation to social phenomena. Such methods include personal observation, surveys and interviews, document analysis and statistical experiments.
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Personal observation which involves long term observation of people in their natural setting is favorable for social research because it yields great descriptive data.
Field survey involves the use of fill in questionnaire which is administered to people being researched on by the researcher in their natural setting. The questionnaire administration can be self or researcher administration.
Interviewing is a research methodology where the researcher reaches the target population through either by phone or in person to get the research information.
In this research, survey has been adopted because it allows the researcher to code survey data for analysis.
There is also desk document analysis as a research methodology which is used where the phenomena being researched upon can not be measured using interviews and observations. It involves analysis of journals, letters and government records among others to get desired information.
Such document analysis can provide detailed qualitative information for research study.
In this study, news publications, radio broadcasts, newspaper reviews, television broadcasts, internet news, discussions, blogs and internet chats with information concerning the recently wide spread threat in several governments concerning Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange have been considered.
The information according to CBS News dated 21st December 2010; “Assange had complained about someone leaking information to the Swedish police about his alleged sexual offences” (1). “In an interview with a British newspaper, The Times, Assange complained concerning reporting in a rival newspaper The Guardian, which is one of the publications helping Wikileaks edit its content on the US diplomatic files in exchange for a first priority source of information concerning them” (CBS News 1).
The news report according to Reuters said that Assange had angered the American government by releasing secret information and as a result he faced prosecution by the United States government which was also unhappy about the abuse of the Swedish justice. Following the allegations, Sweden issued an arrest warrant of Assange over allegations of sexual crimes with two women and as a result Assange was arrested and remanded in Britain.
According to the information source, The United States of America has considered a number of criminal charges against Assange(CBS News 1). Among such charges is the 1917 Espionage Acts to which Assange could face prosecution for unleashing classified American diplomatic information.
According to the New York Daily news, Assange is the forerunner of the cyber wars against the US (CBS News 1). He has interfered with many American undertakings such as combat operations and intelligence information collection by disclosing top national intelligence secrets by the help of a scoundrel soldier.
The information source says that many secrets concerning the American government’s military strategy are still expected to be released by Assange and his aids. The New York Daily news concludes by saying that Wikileaks is a threatening national security problem, humiliating tactical challenges for a government that is very eager to shut it down.
According to the well known magazine Mother Jones, Clay Sharky has mixed feelings about Wikileaks (CBS News 1). He feels that such commitments of individuals like Assange who have taken it upon themselves to subvert a bureaucratic system of secrets are good.
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According to Clay, it is essential for democratization of both politics and thought. He says that when a government cannot obtain what it needs by working under the law, the right solution does not lie in using crude forceful means or working outside the law (CBS News 1).
The government should calmly accept that it cannot get what it wants and therefore it should work within the confines of its law, which makes the extrajudicial pursuit of Wikileaks highly nauseating. Clay further argues that if the government must engage in a war, it must only do so with an assurance of winning. But the war concerning Wikileaks is not the war that the US could probably win.
According to a ComRes poll for CNN voted by 2000 people, it was revealed that a large percentage of the British believe that the sexual offence charges against Assange are just an excuse to land him into custody so that he can be prosecuted by America for leaking long hidden American diplomatic secrets but another proportion also think that the British should send Assange to the Swedish to face charges (CBS News 1).
Other polls showed that More British believe that Assange was right to release such crucial information and therefore should not be prosecuted. There is a significant difference in opinion between age groups with the older people more inclined to the idea of Assange being handed over to the Swedish government while the younger ones do not.
In the Atlantic Blog on the 18th of December 2010, the largest bank in America, Bank of America Corp. announced that it had stopped handling payments for the Wikileaks website that had released many top secrets of the government.
The bank issued a statement declining further involvement in processing Wikileaks related transactions. It stated that such a move was to ensure that the bank remains within its operational policies and internal business values which are against the Wikileaks engagements. It said that the move was the latest blow on the site’s head after major financial institutions like the PayPal and MasterCard cut off payments for Wikileaks in the earlier parts of the month.
All these reports have an indication that there is a great divide in the opinions and presentation of information. On the side of the public that have been interviewed by the news agencies and individuals who presented their opinions in open public polls and blogs, many believe that it was the right thing for Wikileaks to inform the public on the internal happenings of several diplomatic doorsteps. Many believe that is an infringement of Wikileaks’ freedom of information to the public.
On the other hand, most bodies affiliated to the government have the exact negative reaction towards Wikileaks’ endeavors. Instead it is viewed as great offence to the American government. The reactions of the major news agencies are in favor of the government and this draws us to a conclusion that there is bias in reporting and publishing of news, airing in the local and national television.
It is actually a political war that is being fought through most of the major media houses and that there tends to be the element of inclination towards the government’s side. However, this is not so with the public. By these results, we could correctly conclude that in the search for information, interviews and opinion polls would yield more trustworthy results than the other forms of information soliciting methods used in the study.
CBS News. WikiLeaks’ Assange Complains He’s Victim Of Leaks: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Complains He’s The Victim Of Leaks, Wo not Get Justice In Sweden. The Associated Press, 2010. Web.
CBS News. WikiLeaks’ Assange: I am The Victim Of Leaks. One News Page Ltd, 2010. Web.