Two years ago this month, the major online payment systems – Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and more – cut off one of the world’s most famous journalism organizations from the public. They stopped taking payments on behalf of WikiLeaks and, in the process, highlighted one of the most dangerous threats to modern journalism: the ability of centralized third parties to make trouble for anyone and any organization they didn’t like, for whatever reason.
With a few exceptions, the traditional journalism industry has been all but indifferent to what happened – a payment boycott done almost certainly under pressure from the American government, which was and remains infuriated by WikiLeaks’ methods and results. No other journalism-related organization has been treated this way, as far as I know. But given the rise of independent media organizations and the utter lack of accountability the payment systems have faced for their outrageous actions, the threat is greater than ever.
Read More at the Guardian