11 July, 2009 — WIKILEAKS EDITORIAL
This week the British paper, The News of the World, was condemned by the Guardian for hiring private investigators. The investigators were alleged to have accessed messages left on the answering machines of thousands of the UK’s social and political elite. The information was used (possibly unknowingly) by the paper to develop its stories.
The News of the World didn’t go far enough.
Earlier this year, WikiLeaks released 86 telephone recordings of corrupt Peruvian politicians and businessmen. The revelations became the front page of every major paper in Peru and the journalists involved, such as Pablo O’Brian, became national heroes.
Europe has had its fair share of similar exposes. Italy’s Prodi government was toppled by such revelations and in December 2007, Silvio Berlusconi, who was then opposition leader, was himself exposed on a phone call leaked from an anti-corruption investigation. Further revelations from Berlusconi’s circle were expected later this year, but by May the Italian Prime Minister had introduced “British style” legislation to prevent the Italian press from publishing them. Berlusconi justified the new law by saying that the privacy of Italian citizens was threatened by the press.