PHILIPPINE VERSION OF WIKILEAKS PROMISES TO EXPOSE CORRUPT OFFICIALS


MANILA,
DECEMBER 29, 2010 (PRESS RELEASE) PinoyLeaks <http://www.pinoyleaks.org/> was first conceptualized back in 2004. However, almost nobody understood the concept or believed that leaking documents online could have an impact. Then, in 2010, Wikileaks became a worldwide phenomenon, and Filipinos are now familiar with the concept of exposing corruption by means of leaking data on the web.

HERE IS THE PINOYLEAKS HOMEPAGE LOGO:

EMBARGOED UNTIL 12/30/2010

MANILA - The Philippine version of Wikileaks, the international whistleblower website, is launching today, on Rizal Day. Aiming to fight corruption and poverty by means of exposing evidence of wrongdoing on the Internet, the project, dubbed "PinoyLeaks," says its mission is to expose corrupt officials at all levels of government.

Wikileaks, a website which accepts leaked confidential data from the public and releases it into the public domain, has been strongly criticized by the U.S. government after releasing secret U.S. government diplomatic cables. A co-founder of the organization, Julian Assange, has been arrested on sexual assault charges, which his supporters claim were fabricated.

On its website, located at pinoyleaks.org, PinoyLeaks clarifies that the scope of its activities is limited to exposing corruption.

PinoyLeaks aims to provide a secure, safe and efficient mechanism for concerned citizens to leak evidence of corruption, without fear of repercussions. Logs will not be kept by the server, and leaks are to be uploaded to the PinoyLeaks server via an encrypted connection.

In a system known as "crowdsourcing," baseless and irrelevant documents are to be filtered out by a community of bloggers who support the project.

PinoyLeaks was set up by an I.T. security specialist who requested to be identified only as "B."

In an email message, B explained that PinoyLeaks can have a dramatic effect on the socio-political scene in the Philippines. "The Philippines is a country particularly well-suited for a whistleblower website, because the legal environment makes it difficult for traditional journalism to expose corrupt officials. That's where we can come in and help journalists do their jobs."

Journalists are frequently arrested as a result of complaints filed by politicians and officials, even when reporting facts. In a situation unique to the Philippines, truth is not considered a defense against defamation, and libel is a criminal, rather than civil, offense.

The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) has previously called for the decriminalization of libel, stating: "As shown in the countless libel cases filed by politicians against journalists, the libel law has also become a tool to harass media into silence."

In addition to imprisonment, journalists in the Philippines risk being murdered. As many as 70 Filipino journalists have lost their lives since 1992 in the course of pursuing their duties, according to the Committee to Project Journalists, an independent, nonprofit organization based in New York.

Wikileaks-style projects allow confidential information to be leaked to the public without revealing the identity of the whistleblower, serving in effect as a shield against arrest or summary execution.

PinoyLeaks hopes to raise awareness of its existence throughout the country during the month of January, and to start publishing leaked documents, known as "leaks," by February 1, 2011.

The project's founder appealed for support from the public. "We are depending on members of the public to upload leaks," he wrote. "We need the support of a large number of Filipinos for this project to succeed."

"I am pretty sure Jose Rizal would have supported us," he added.

114 years after Rizal's death, the country for which he gave his life is ranked at No. 134 on Transparency International's ranking of nations, while, according to the latest Social Weather Station survey, 48 percent of the households rated themselves as "poor." Given these circumstances, it is perhaps not surprising that, even before officially launching, PinoyLeaks has attracted passionate supporters who hope the project can make a difference to the fortunes of the country.

CONTACT INFORMATION

For further information or interviews, please contact:

Contact Name: David Poarch, Media Relations Organization Name: PinoyLeaks Email: david@pinoyleaks.org Phone Number: +63.999.731.7687 Website: http://www.pinoyleaks.org/ Street Address: Undisclosed

SOURCES

Transparency International http://transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results

Social Weather Station http://www.sws.org.ph/pr20101020.htm

Wikileaks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikileaks

NUJP Statement http://www.gmanews.tv/story/47644

Defamation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation

Committee to Protect Journalists http://www.cpj.org/killed/asia/philippines/

PinoyLeaks is a non-profit organization dedicated to exposing corruption in the Philippine national and local governments, by means of channelling evidence to the blogosphere. We have a secure and safe system for whistleblowers to submit information anonymously. PinoyLeaks is similar to Wikileaks, except the mission is specifically focused on exposing corruption only, the scope is limited to the Philippines, and PinoyLeaks works with bloggers instead of traditional media. It is up to the bloggers whether to spread news about a leak.

This site is launching in very soon, and our goal is to start publishing leaks by February 1, 2011. Please help us reach this goal by spreading the word about PinoyLeaks.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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