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 .
According to Wikileaks, “it is acceptable for journalists to swap information or be paid by other media organisations, because Stratfor is a private intelligence organisation that services governments and private clients these relationships are corrupt or corrupting.”
But Jo Jakobsen, a Norwegian scholar specialized in risk analysis firms, told organized crime website Reportingproject.com Saturday that deals with journalists are common.
“The impression you get from Wikileaks is that this Stratfor firm does a lot of shady things, corruption, and all that, but I don’t really see that, because paying sources on the ground is not a matter of corruption, necessarily. Not that I know all the details, but newspapers do that as well, as a matter of necessity,” Jakobsen told the website.
The director of El Espectador told W Radio that his newspaper “gives them purely journalistic information about what is happening in Colombia and we have access to what they produce in other parts of the world, this is what the deal consists of.”
The newspaper was also one of Wikileaks two media partners in Colombia.