Monday, 13 February 2017

Why whistleblowing is an essential part of a fair and democratic society

Government advisers have recently floated plans to make distributing material that 'is capable of benefitting a foreign power' (a very vague definition indeed) punishable by up to 14 years' imprisonment:

This same proposed legislation would also remove a critical public interest defence for finding, handling, and releasing this critical information.

This would be chilling to whistleblowers, journalists, and upholders of fair justice and free speech everywhere. Even elected politicians could be caught out. Only through whistleblowing and risk have we been able to expose such things as the Panama Papers and real causes behind the financial crisis that we are still suffering the effects of today.

Whistleblowing is an essential part of a free, fair and democratic society for a variety of important reasons. Firstly, we must be free to alert the public to wrongdoing and law-breaking that goes on behind closed doors, to make it clear that laws and morals need to apply to everyone fairly, irrespective of whatever shadowy connections they may have. Secondly, whistleblowing often helps with problem-solving of fundamental issues within organisations or companies, so it is a useful tool. Thirdly, it is important that a decent society has as much knowledge of what is really going on as possible, for the truth is one of the most important things we need today. And finally, whistleblowing helps make sure society will not be constantly dominated by a secret elite and that we are able to hold the government of the day, as well as corporations, banks etc. to account.

Please sign and share 38 Degrees' petition here and make sure this legislation never passes:

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