Paying for the priviledge

Unsurprising revelations in Germany:

Newsmagazine Der Spiegel, famed throughout decades for rooting out corruption and the vagaries of errant politicians, admitted Saturday some staff had been working for the government intelligence service.

In an article in the next edition on Monday, released in advance, the celebrated weekly – considered a watchdog of press and democratic freedoms in postwar Germany – said one staff member in a regional bureau had been working for the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) as recently as last autumn.

Another filing from war zones around the world had likewise been providing information to the BND on a colleague working for Focus, a rival weekly news magazine.

Some journalists had also been used as informers.

We shouldn’t be shocked by this story. After all, many British journalists have been happy to be government agents:

”¦In 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.… 

What about in Australia? It’s unlikely that similar stories wouldn’t be found here. Then again, many journalists don’t even need to be paid to promote the government’s agenda; they’re happy being ciphers for free.

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