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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Newspapers "deplore" WikiLeaks' decision to release full archive of uncensored diplomatic cables



Controversial whistle-blower site WikiLeaks has released its entire trove of 251,287 leaked U.S. embassy cables, uncensored, prompting newspapers and journalistic groups to criticize the move, reported the BBC and the Associated Press.

The entire archive of unredacted, unfiltered secret diplomatic cables is now available in a searchable format, WikiLeaks announced on its Twitter feed, adding shortly thereafter that "Cablegate search is overloaded. Help us purchase more capacity http://wikileaks.lu/support.html search for mirrors via #wlfind."

The Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel and El Pais, all of which are former WikiLeaks partners, condemned the release, according to CNN. "We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk. Our previous dealings with WikiLeaks were on the clear basis that we would only publish cables which had been subjected to a thorough editing and clearance process," the newspapers said in a joint statement Thursday, Sept. 1.

Also on Thursday Reporters Without Borders announced that it has temporarily taken down its WikiLeaks mirror site, as "the protection of sources is now in question." Reporters Without Borders, which launched the mirror site in December, said that while "it has not been demonstrated that lives have so far been put in danger by these revelations, the repercussions they could have for informants, such as dismissal, physical attacks and other reprisals, cannot be neglected." Still, the group added that WikiLeaks "has done something very worthwhile by making vital information available to the US and international public."

WikiLeaks said it decided to release the uncensored cables after the documents were accidentally made public because of a security breach, reported Spiegel Online.

In a statement, WikiLeaks blamed the security breach on The Guardian, accusing one of the newspaper's journalists of "negligently" disclosing decryption passwords.

The Guardian denied the allegations, calling them "nonsense."

The Sydney Morning Herald pointed out that the danger of publishing the unredacted cables is that "As many as as 3,300 US diplomatic sources - including many in authoritarian anti-US regimes," potentially could "face imprisonment or death if discovered."

But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is unable to leave England because of rape charges he faces in Sweden, went to bat for the organization on Thursday, arguing, "There is no claim by official sources that WikiLeaks has caused the death of any individual anywhere in the world," reported the Huffington Post.



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