INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalistsand the Government Accountability Project announce the launch today of “The Whistleblower Project.” This project, announced in conjunction with Sunshine Week, is dedicated to spreading awareness to ensure that whistleblowers and the journalists who work with them are protected and supported.
The Whistleblower Project shares best practices for working with whistleblowers, includes ways for journalists to protect information and communication with their sources, highlights 25 whistleblowers that have changed history, lists laws that would, if passed, help improve protection for whistleblowers and includes everything reporters would need to protect sources from retaliation.
“Whistleblowers and journalists must work together to uncover and expose corruption and incompetence in government,” SPJ President Rebecca Baker said. “I consider this project a public service, and I thank the GAP for working with us to make it a reality.”
Danielle McLean, SPJ Freedom of Information Committee Chair and project coordinator, said one of the project’s goals is to combat the rhetoric and bad reputation whistleblowers are given by people who don’t understand their importance or that, without them, some important information might never reach the public.
“They’re not leakers. Often, whistleblowers are just government employees who see something wrong and want the problem addressed,” McLean said.
McLean gave a preview of the project Friday in an FOI FYI blog post.
“Journalists have a long history of working with their sources to reveal essential public information,” McLean continued. “Both leakers and whistleblowers are essential for a democracy with an informed citizenry.”
Dana Gold, the Government Accountability Project’s Director of Education, who led GAP’s partnership with SPJ, added, “Without journalists, whistleblowers are like trees falling in an abandoned forest. No one will hear them. There is only silence with no impact, no reform, no story. Journalists and whistleblowers need each other and our democracy needs both. The Whistleblower Project partnership with SPJ and GAP could not be more timely nor more important.”