The WikiLeaks mirror site that Reporters Without Borders launched on 21 December 2010 has been temporarily suspended because of two major problems arising from the recent posting of more than 100,000 new US diplomatic cables on the WikiLeaks website.
On the one hand, some of the new cables have reportedly not been redacted and show the names of informants in various countries including Israel, Jordan, Iran and Afghanistan. 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.
At the same time, an encrypted file containing all the WikiLeaks cables, again unredacted, has reportedly been made available on the Internet, on peer-to-peer sites, together with the password that allows it to be opened.
As Reporters Without Borders has neither the technical, human or financial resources to check each cable, it has to play safe. When it launched its mirror site, it said it defended “the free flow of information online and the principle of the protection of sources, without which investigative journalism cannot exist.” As the protection of sources is now in question, Reporters Without Borders has decided to suspend the site pending further clarification.
Reporters Without Borders will continue to post information on the special WikiLeaks page on its website about the release of cables relating to media freedom and about developments concerning the WikiLeaks site, which has contributed to the free dissemination of information.
Reporters Without Borders believes that WikiLeaks has done something very worthwhile by making vital information available to the US and international public, especially about serious violations of human rights and civil liberties committed under the Bush administration in the name of the “war on terror.”