What Happened To Both Sides Of The Story?

One thing I thought was very important for journalists is listening to both sides of the story. If you’re going to print a story about a trial it’s important to print both sides of story. For example, last week there was a ruling in a trial where 3 guys had apparently shoved a glass bottle up a girls vagina. That’s one side of the story. The other side was that she had just had sex with two of them and they thought she was ok with this since she never outright said “stop”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the guys here, no matter what’s going on if you think a girl would like a bottle shoved up her vagina there’s something wrong with you, but the point is it’s important to print both sides of the story.

And right now there’s a very big lack of that. So much so it’s embarassing for all journalists in Sweden. Everyone from the people at “TT” who has historically been very good at printing facts down to the “let’s twist the facts so much it’s as juicy as possible without deliberately lying” so called “journalists” at Aftonbladet, they are all doing it. They have for the past 6 months printed one side of a story. Namely the one of Gottfrid Svartholm who’s right now on trial for hacking and stealing sensitive data from our IRS and hacking one of our largest banks mainframe and tried to transfer out money. The guy had apparently done this from his refuge in Laos or wherever. The swedish authorities, who’s already made it public they hate the guy, charged him with a high enough offence that they could have him arrested and deported back to Sweden. This was a long time ago and since then they’ve gathered evidence upon evidence. And most of it is logs on his laptop apparently. And the media have covered this from one angle and that is the information they are fed from the DA who’s handling the case and the managers at the places that got hacked. The DA’s job is to nail the bad guy, and he’s sure this is the bad guy so you could say he’s just doing his job. And the managers at the places that got hacked are, as victims in this case, hardly objective either. And now the trial has begun and in the days leading up to this the DA worked hard to make public what this guy was charged of doing. And he didn’t really speak in the “what we’re charging this guy with is…”-voice, rather the “what this guy did was…” which assumes guilt. But you can still excuse this guy for just doing his job.

But here is where the journalists are failing so hard. They are printing his statements and they are printing them as facts. And so far I have only seen one 30 second clip from the defense where he said “he’s pleaded guilty to some of the lesser charges but not the major ones” and that was it. Where are the people to examine the case against him? Where are the technical experts that will tell anyone that an online computer is easily hackable and anyone could have used this computer to do anything, even plant the logs which now makes up the majority of the evidence against him? Or the people to question why this kind of sensitive information was stored at the outsourced private company in such an insecure way that it was leaked? Where are the journalists to question why they have treated this person as guilty before they even made the arrest (and gained access to those previously mentioned so very important logs)? Where’s the impartiality? Is it left to us in the blogosphere to handle that?

I’m not saying the guy isn’t guilty and that he’s a saint. I can see this guy being totally guilty, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are two sides of the story and the media should cover them both, not just re-print what the DA feeds them!

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