Videos attack Panamanian journalists who published unflattering WikiLeaks cables

A series of videos that attack Panamanian journalists, especially those at La Prensa newspaper, were released at the end of April. Reporters without Borders (RSF) argues that their release is related to the publication of WikiLeaks cables that were not to President Ricardo Martinelli’s liking.

YouTube videos posted on April 28 and May 7, 2011, as well as another that has circulated around the internet since July 2010, accuse Santiago Cumbrera, Lina Vega, and Mónica Palm of supporting the main opposition party, the Press and Society Institute (IPYS) explains. Vega is the head of La Prensa’s investigative unit, Cumbera a journalist in that unit, and Palm is a weekend editor at the paper.

La Prensa has published a series of WikiLeaks-released cables sent by the U.S. embassy to Washington at the end of 2009. The information includes statements by the U.S. ambassador saying that organized crime had taken over the judiciary, that Martinelli had “autocratic” tendencies, and that the he had asked the U.S. to wiretap the opposition’s phone calls.

“These methods suggest an act of crass vengeance by those in power against the media that relayed the information released by WikiLeaks,” RSF said. "The judicial authorities must investigate the origin of these despicable videos and the political endorsement they appear to received, even if it means going to the heart of the presidency.”

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.