Whistleblowing vital to the strength of our democracy

Former whistleblower John Tye says it’s the golden age of whistleblowing but that the practice can be risky and gratuitous. Tyle co-founded the nonprofit law firm Whistleblower Aid to help whistleblowers perform crucial public service without breaking the law. Tye says some of the greatest threats to democracy today are hidden from view and involve the control and misuse of information. (Vox, September 25, 2019, by Eric Johnson)

Middlebury College professor Allison Stanger, The Atlantic, September 25, 2019, writes that the nation’s founders recognized the threats of corruption to liberty and democracy, and Congress sought to protect those within government who had the courage to report the transgressions of their superiors. Congress passed the first whistleblower act in 1778 after a dispute that led to the dismissal of the first commander of the Continental Navy, Esek Hopkins. The act required public servants to report wrongdoing and protected whistleblowers from retaliation. Congress also released all records on Hopkins’ dismissal and passed another act that provided whistleblowers with legal counsel to fight libel charges.

Climate scientists who have now left government service under the Trump administration are speaking up about how their research was buried and how they are continuing to fight the abandonment of scientific truth. (Scientific American, September 17, 2019, by Oliver Milman with contributions from Oliver Conray. The report originally appeared in The Guardian)

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