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PayPal releases alternative news site’s frozen funds — Analysis

The payment platform appears to have reversed course after slapping Consortium News with a ‘permanent’ ban

PayPal has released nearly $10,000 it seized from alternative media outlet Consortium News (CN), the site’s editor-in-chief said, allowing it to withdraw its funds after stating they could be held for up to six months without explanation. 

Joe Lauria (CN editor) noted that Wednesday’s reversal was noticed by writing that US payments company informed site about its funds. “eligible for withdrawal”The night before, just days after it had frozen its $9,348 account over unspecified “risk exposure”You will be able to access the account.

“CN immediately withdrew the funds,”Lauria added that “PayPal gave no reasons for its reversal, as it had given no reasons for its initial action.” 

The outlet had previously been informed that its account would be closed permanently. However, the editor stated that PayPal may now be able to help the outlet. “asking CN to take steps to restore it.”The platform does not allow for this. “failed to specify what those steps are,”It is not clear how CN could revive its account.

Despite only receiving generic notices from PayPal about the ban and funding freeze, Lauria suggested CN’s news coverage may have motivated the decision. 

“Given the political climate it is reasonable to conclude that PayPal was reacting to Consortium News’ coverage of the war in Ukraine, which is not in line with the dominant narrative that is being increasingly enforced,”He stated. “If true, PayPal was allegedly seeking to limit Consortium News’ free speech by depriving it of one of its main vehicles for funding.”

It came at a particularly awkward time for the readers-supported website, which was holding its spring fund campaign. Lauria claimed that CN received a lot of support from the site, but it did little to stop its fundraising efforts. “flood of donations”within the 48 hours following the ban.

PayPal has penalized a number of independent journalists and media organizations in recent weeks, among them former RT America correspondent Caleb Maupin and MintPress News employees Alan MacLeod and Mnar Adley, each of whom had their accounts frozen without notice. 

MintPress News’ funds were also seized by PayPal last week, but have since been released to the outlet. However, its account is still frozen and, like CN was informed that it could take. “steps”PayPal is able to lift the ban. provided no further instructions.

Robert Parry was a journalist who helped expose the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s at Newsweek and the Associated Press. He founded Consortium News in 1995. Parry was a national journalist award recipient and edited CN until his passing in 2018.

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