According to WikiLeaks, the news director, Wadah Khanfar, had modified the network’s coverage of the Iraq war in response to pressure from the United States.
It seems that WikiLeaks came into possession of a series of documents that stated Khanfar had several meetings with members of the United States Defense Department Intelligence Agency in 2005.
The documents focus on a loose partnership between Al Jazeera and the U.S. military during the Iraq War.
According to those documents, Khanfar censored the network’s coverage of the conflict in an attempt to aid the US military in quelling anti-U.S. sentiment in the Arab world.
Much of the coverage that is said to have been censored by Khanfarwas included images of injured civilians. These images were allegedly removed by Khanfar.
The New York Times provided an example of Khanfar’s censorship which was motivated by the US military.
“In at least one instance, involving a report on the network’s Web site, Mr. Khanfar said in the cable that he had changed coverage at the American official’s request. He said he had removed two images depicting wounded children in a hospital and a woman with a badly wounded face.”
Another document, a cable sent by the American ambassador, Chase Untermeyer, suggests close ties between US Department of Defense, Qatari Foreign Ministry, and Al Jazeera.
It describes an embassy official’s meeting with the news director.
According to the cable, the official gave Mr. Khanfar copies of critical reports by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency on several months of Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Iraq war; which was similar to reports given to him by the Qatari Foreign Ministry.
Another interesting fact about the release is that Al Jazeera was one of several media outlets Wikileaks turned to in an effort to release the 2010 Iraq War Logs.
When it comes to global whistle-blowing, even WikiLeaks’ own partners in disclosure are not safe.