In its Thursday edition under the headline "Leaks Reveal Local Newspaper’s Link to US Intelligence Firm", The Cambodia Daily takes pains to paint our relationship with Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence-gathering company, in an unflattering light. As Editor-in-Chief of the Post, I would like to set the record straight.
First off, my newspaper’s relationship with Stratfor can only be described as “informal” – no money has ever changed hands and no contract was ever signed.
In exchange for permission to link to and quote from our news stories, Stratfor gives us free access to essays and editorials that we may run on our opinion page.
On rare occasions, Stratfor analysts have approached myself and my predecessor for off-the-cuff opinions on the news stories of the day, a request we have always been free to ignore.
Let me also strongly stress that we never have and never would feed Stratfor “confidential” information, as subsequently suggested by the story’s author, Colin Meyn, on social media. We are in the newspaper business. When we have confidential information, our first duty is to share it with our readers, if it is at all possible. If it isn’t, we hold on to that information until the climate is right to reveal it.
Finally, it is a widely adhered-to journalistic principle that reporters reveal their connections to subjects that they cover.
Despite reminding my Daily counterpart, Kevin Doyle, of this after willingly cooperating with this story – which was first reported on in March 2012, and thus hardly news – the paper failed to disclose that Mr Meyn was a former editor at the Post at the time of the email exchanges he reported on. He was also personally copied on emails from Stratfor during that time – more than two years ago – and was later asked to resign for unrelated reasons.
The Phnom Penh Post