Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I received a call a few months ago from someone who had read some of my articles about corruption in Latin America; she is working for a new online anti-corruption organisation. We were discussing the organisation's staff of contributors when she named a prominent journalist in Miami, recently reportedly fired for chequebook journalism.

it seems that the writer had allegedly accepted a large sum to interview, and write, a highly favourable article, about a very bad man. I know that many compliance officers accept as gospel the open-source references from major news media in the EU and North America, and only take news articles from the developing world with a grain of salt, but that is not always accurate. Corruption and so-called news management occurs where you least expect it.

For example, if you ever wondered why there are so many positive articles written about the regime in Venezuela, know that some journalists, in the United States, are extremely well compensated to not only praise Venezuela's so-called progress, but ignore negative news, especially involving Venezuela's connections with designated global terrorist organisations.

I will be writing in the near future about an article, placed in a prominent Panamanian newspaper, that falsely reported that a pillar of that country's banking community was convicted of stealing money from a depositor at his bank, when no such order or final judgment was ever entered, and there was no factual basis for the case, where the sole witness was a convicted Mexican drug trafficker, whose claim had been denied in other courts. Was there bribery of a journalist involved ? What do you think ?

Do N0T blindly accept the stories that appear in the profiles of high-risk individuals in commercial off-the-shelf databases without enquiring further. Some helpful hints:

(1) Is there a systemic climate of corruption in the country where the article appeared ? Does it extend to journalists ?

(2) Was the information in the article not widely reported elsewhere in the media ? Why not ?

(3) Is the subject of the article, or major participant, a career criminal, or individual with access to wealth ?

(4) Is the article part of a possible pattern of news management, unofficial or official censorship, or possibly written for a political purpose ?

Never assume that even articles from a country's most prominent and authoritative newspaper are accurate, until you check out the author, and look for the "red flags" I have listed above.

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