NOW the Media Shares!

In the past, I’ve ranted about why reporters who “obtain” documents and write stories about them only RARELY share said documents.  While I’ve seen a few cases (here and here) of such sharing, it still doesn’t appear to be the norm.

Interesting, then, to see the following – from the Toronto Star:

On Thursday, the federal government released more than 500 heavily censored documents – totalling about 2,500 pages – comprised of handwritten investigators’ notes, military reports and top-secret memos from 2006 to 2008 relating to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.

The release comes amid complaints by opposition parties that the government is violating the rights of MPs to see documents related to how Canadian soldiers handled Afghan detainees. It is unclear whether this release comprises all the documents sought by Parliament.

Also at issue is whether documents should be censored. The Conservatives have asked retired Justice Frank Iacobucci to review the file and decide what information, if any, should be censored on the grounds of national security.

Click on a links below to read a PDF of a document; the documents are listed as named in the government’s release. (Files are less than 4MB in size; most are about 300KB).

See something interesting? Leave a comment below.

Why would they do this now?  More of an explanation from CBC.ca (highlights mine):

As Colleague McGregor announced earlier today, we’ve posted the full collection of Afghan detainee-related documents that were tabled in the House yesterday morning.

Our not-so-secret agenda? Call it an experiment in distributed research. We want to make sure that the 2,688 pages of medium to heavily-redacted data get the most thorough going-over possible, so we’re going to try to harness the collective power — or, more specifically, eyeballs — of the CBC.ca/politics readerverse, so head on over to the ad hoc Inside Politics reading club and share your observations!

Okay, when there’s one document, media consumers don’t need to be bothered with reading a document or two.  When there’s thousands of documents, though, why not let the media consumers do the reporters’ homework for them “crowdsource” to get the greatest number of viewpoints?

I believe in crowdsouring as a concept, but why is it we don’t see it all the time a document is “obtained”?  After all, CBC’s posting of documents led to such keen, scintillating insights as:

Hard to read black marker. I can’t tell if it’s French, English, or Arabic, or whatever. How juvenile can you be ? How condescending ? Here read this !! Two boxes full of black ink ? Not only contempt of Parliament, but contempt for every Canadian.

and

A redacted copy of a document provided by Harper vs. the same unredacted document provided by General Walt. In the CDS’s copy, the deleted reference specifically confirming and passing on prisoner abuse info.    This has nothing to do with national security .. but it has everything to do with job security for the Harper cabal.

Great “citizen journalism”.

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