Sex, lies and Wikileaks: Has the media lost the plot? Plus, an interview with one of Egypt's most influential voices, Yosri Fouda. This July marked two years since the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks released the Afghan War Logs. Since then, the path for its founder Julian Assange has not been a smooth one, and it has led to an extradition battle between the UK and Ecuador.
On February 24, the Washington Post ran a prominent story on a "top-secret" State Department cable that warned of Pakistani safe-havens for militants that were allegedly putting the "US strategy in Afghanistan in jeopardy". The cable was so secret, the Post reported, the US Ambassador to Afghanistan "sent it through CIA channels rather than the usual State Department ones". Yet somehow, it still ended up on the pages of one of the biggest newspapers in the United States of America. While many might have assumed this was the work of WikiLeaks and their alleged source Bradley Manning, it wasn't.
Take WikiLeaks, for example: its significance lies in the innovation it has developed, the capacity for whistleblowers to upload material anonymously. The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, so the organisation is in its firing line. But WikiLeaks' critical place in the new media landscape has been acknowledged with multiple journalism awards and increasingly citizens around the world are seeing themselves as the stakeholders. Long live diversity. Seize it and flourish
Newspaper El Espectador was U.S. intelligence company Stratfor's only media informant in Colombia, files released by Wikileaks showed. According to the leaked files, the newspaper signed an intelligence-sharing deal in 2009. Statfor's contacts within the newspaper were director Fidel Cano and journalist Juan Camilo Maldonado Tovar, whose email addresses were made public .
In an effort to deflect and counteract leftist regimes in Latin America during the Cold War, Washington attached great political importance to its propaganda efforts. From Cuba to Chile, the US sought to promote friendly media while cultivating the support of right-wing reporters.
Bill Keller, an editor with The New York Times, has recently published an article titled "Dealing With Assange and the WikiLeaks Secrets." In the article, the author wrote how the newspaper was working with secret cables. From what the article says, it seems that Russia appears to be a real stronghold of freedom of speech.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange resembles a character from a detective novel and is "elusive, manipulative and volatile," the executive editor of The New York Times says in an upcoming book.