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May / June 2012 Issue
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Don't shoot the messenger

 Professions Feature

The worldwide furore caused by WikiLeaks will be the subject of a public seminar by University of Adelaide law Associate Professor and online media expert Dr Melissa de Zwart on Monday 21 May.

Dr de Zwart's lecture, WikiLeaks, Google and Facebook: How Terms of Use Control Information, will address the fallout from WikiLeaks and the implications for freedom of speech and the internet as a global networked public sphere.

"How is it that what is essentially a one-person organisation can have attracted such a level of hatred from the US Government in particular?" Dr de Zwart asks.

"What does the concerted effort to shut WikiLeaks down and to silence Julian Assange tell us about the effectiveness of the internet as a communications medium?"

Dr de Zwart will examine why public law has failed to silence WikiLeaks when the law of contract and the exercise of private regulation has been so successful.

"WikiLeaks is a new model of online news dissemination. Its structure, operations and motivations are little understood, despite the worldwide furore caused by the publication of a series of documents in the last two years.

"The fallout from the publication of WikiLeaks material has resulted in the withdrawal of service by numerous providers, including Amazon, Mastercard, VISA and Paypal. This has effectively limited WikiLeaks' operations when more direct attacks have not," Dr de Zwart said.

Her lecture will cover the legal and cultural context of the internet and why the small print should never be ignored.

The lecture will be held on Monday 21 May in Ligertwood Lecture Theatre 1, Adelaide Law School, Ligertwood Building at 5pm. To register go to

To watch a video of Associate Professor Melissa de Zwark discussing her upcoming lecture, please visit the University of Adelaide's YouTube page:

Story by Candy Gibson

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Dr Melissa de Zwart
Photo by Chris Tonkin

Dr Melissa de Zwart
Photo by Chris Tonkin

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