This is a video-sharing Web site similar to YouTube; but Liveleak is different because it encourages its users to post videos that reveal current events, banned and censored information, and other controversial subjects. They filter their videos to ensure that there's no porn or stupid stuff…no singing cats or giggling teenagers. What does show there are lots of politically-charged videos: footage of US soldiers in Iraq, soldiers in other wars, video of damning statements by politicians, footage of police beatings, criminals attacking victims, and other controversial, news-making videos.
Liveleak came to international prominence when they exposed a live video (recorded on a cell phone) of the execution of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in early 2007. They were explicitly referred to when the US military banned its soldiers from uploading their own homemade videos of themselves (especially combat footage and videos of soldiers on patrol) to Web sites.
In early 2008, the anti-Islamic short film Fitna was uploaded onto Liveleak, which brought howls of outrage from Muslims around the world. After many death threats were hurled at its operators, Liveleak took down the video and declared it a defeat for free speech.
Liveleak can be pointed to as an example of how the mass media have changed since the advent of the Internet. A Los Angeles Times article on Wikileaks and Liveleak (April 16, 2008) quoted a University of Illinois alumnus as saying, "The "number of journalists who are going to take up an interesting leak [on Liveleak] and pursue it, probably isn't where it was 25 years ago." He was bemoaninng the deteriorating state of old-fashioned but trustworthy journalism such as newspapers. But Liveleak bypasses those old sources and presents its material directly for the public to view. Instead of simply reading about it in a newspaper, now you can see the actual video for yourself and become outraged – or overjoyed.