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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

WikiLeaks mostly spurns mainstream media; changes focus from government documents to private company emails



WikiLeaks' latest information release -- The Global Intelligence Files -- has yet to produce any major stories, but what is noteworthy are the media outlets with which the whistleblower site partnered this time around. WikiLeaks cites 25 media collaborators, none of which were among the site's original partner publications -- which condemned WikiLeak's uncensored release of its entire cache of secret diplomatic cables in September 2011 -- calling attention to the wedge driven between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and mainstream media outlets like The New York Times and The Guardian.

What's more, apparently WikiLeaks now also has partnered with the illegal hacker group Anonymous, which allegedly provided WikiLeaks with the leaked files, according to Forbes.

This latest leak makes public stolen emails from Stratfor, a global intelligence firm in Austin, Texas. WikiLeaks said it has more than 5 million of the company's emails, dated between July 2004 and December 2011, showing "Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods," and illustrating "how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients."

Among WikiLeaks' latest media partners are Chile's CIPER, Guatemala's Plaza Pública, Costa Rica's La Nacion, Egypt's Al Masry Al Youm, Italy's La Repubblica, India's The Hindu, Costa Rica's La Nacion, the US' Rolling Stone, and France's OWNI.

"Even though the media companies now supporting WikiLeaks are smaller than previous allies, the evidently cash-strapped organization is still able to do its work," according to the Atlantic Wire. "It's unclear if with its latest release, WikiLeaks can return to relevance. But they still have access to interesting data that journalists are hungry to understand, so that's a start. It remains to be seen, however, if the Stratfor leaks will produce any real, good stories."

While previous document releases from WikiLeaks revealed confidential government information related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, this leak differs in that it makes public private emails stolen from a private company. Another article in Forbes noted that WikiLeaks' original premise was to offer "a mechanism for legitimate whistleblowers to get their stories to journalists and the public." But now "what once heralded a new chapter in the movement to push governments – particularly democratic governments like our own – toward greater transparency and accountability has now crashed in agonizing slow motion on the rocks of Assange’s personal obsessions, poor leadership, cantankerous ways, and ruinous political agenda," Forbes said.



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