RSF homepage screenshot

Reporters Without Borders has temporarily suspended its mirror site, but will continue to post updates on its WikiLeaks page

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has temporarily suspended its WikiLeaks mirror site following a decision by the group to publish its full trove of 251,000 unredacted US diplomatic cables.

In a statement issued late yesterday (1 September), RSF said it took the decision to suspend the site which was set up in December last year while the protection of sources "is in question".

The group announced last year it would host a mirror website for the leaked US diplomatic cables being published by WikiLeaks as "a gesture of support".

But in an editorial on its site, RSF has now said it has "neither the technical, human or financial resources to check each cable" which has now been published and therefore has to "play it safe".

"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."

RSF added that 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," the group added.

Despite the temporary suspension, RSF will continue to post information on its WikiLeaks page on the group's website about the release of cables "relating to media freedom and about developments concerning the WikiLeaks site".

"Reporters Without Borders believes that WikiLeaks has done something very worthwhile by making vital information available to the US and international public," it added.

WikiLeaks took the decision to publish the entire cache of leaked cables late yesterday, despite calls from the Guardian not to.
The newspaper called the planned move "grossly irresponsible".

Only 20,000 of the cables had been published prior to last week, when WikiLeaks sped up its publication of the cables after it was revealed that encrypted files containing the unredacted cables were available online through filesharing network BitTorrent. Over the course of the week, 133,000 more cables were published, some unredacted.

WikiLeaks blamed the Guardian for the security breach, claiming its investigations editor David Leigh "negligently" disclosed the passwords to the encrypted cache in a book published earlier this year.

The Guardian responded to say it was "nonsense to suggest the Guardian's WikiLeaks book has compromised security in any way".

"Our book about WikiLeaks was published last February. It contained a password, but no details of the location of the files, and we were told it was a temporary password which would expire and be deleted in a matter of hours."

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