WikiLeaks

U.S. Paid Afghan Media

As journalists dig through the 92,000 classified documents released by WikiLeaks on Sunday, new stories are quickly coming out: John Cook, a senior national reporter for Yahoo! News, revealed on Tuesday afternoon that the U.S. military in Afghanistan paid local media outlets to run friendly stories. Reports from Army psychological operations units and PRTs—civilian-military teams whose task is to rebuild Afghanistan—make clear that local Afghan radio stations were under contract to run U.S.-produced content. One instance, according to one of the WikiLeaks documents from 2008, occurred when a radio station was paid “$3,900 for Radio Content Programming air time for the month of October.” This practice is nothing new: In 2005, a Pentagon contractor was caught paying Iraqi newspapers to run stories written by American soldiers—a practice that, ultimately, did not violate Department of Defense policy or U.S. law, but has since been discontinued.