Whistle Blowing: It’s Justification in the Practice of Democracy
The subject of whistle blowing is now at the forefront of...
Prosecution Of Whistle Blowers, Is It Justified?
Whistle blowers, who do public service, by bringing back transparency and...
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Whistle Blowing: It’s Justification in the Practice of Democracy

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Whistle blowing is justifiable in the practice of democracy. It restores the power of the public (citizens) to make informed decisions, which many times are taken from them through deceit and manipulations that are totally undemocratic. If any prosecution of the law is to be carried out, it should be on those who acted against the public (citizens) trust. It is definitely not against those who restored the public trust. In this matter, the judiciary and judicial system of a democratic country should be the vanguard in protecting whistle blowers and the citizens.

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Whistle Blowing: It’s Justification in the Practice of Democracy

  1. 1. Whistle Blowing: It’s Justification in the Practice of Democracy The subject of whistle blowing is now at the forefront of media attention, bought about by the controversy surrounding Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange. BBC in its news article dated 24th November 2010, reported the warning of the state department that the “plan by whistleblower website Wikileaks to release millions more classified US documents will put lives at risk and damage national security…” BBC reported that “Wikileaks website said the US authorities were afraid of being held to account.” Here is clear-cut division of opinions on whistle blowing. So, what is whistle blowing? What is Whistle Blowing? Whistle blowing is the exposure of misconducts, wrong doings, and violations of law and breaches of public trust that has been cover-up under various reasons. The motive for the exposure is to require accountability of public bodies and private entities. What Justifies Whistle Blowing? The description of whistle blowing brings out two important components relevant to the practice of democracy: 1) Exposure of misconducts, wrong doings and violations of law and breaches of public trust; 2) Requirement of accountability of public bodies and private entities. Do the citizens of a nation have the right to know any misconducts, wrong doings and violations of law and breaches of public trust which is hidden from them? Answer is yes, the citizen should have been informed in the first place. The fact that pertinent information was hidden from their knowledge and awareness raises questions of political transparency. And why should the public (citizen) know? The public should have been informed, because, firstly, it is part of accountability which is required of public bodies and private entities operating in democratic environment. Transparency and accountability in the communication of information which is pertinent to public (citizens’) knowledge for them to make informed decisions is vital. Uninformed decisions can be disastrous. An example would be invading another sovereign country. It is a severely significant national decision. If the public (citizens) are uninformed about the actual reasons of why their country is invading another, they would not be able to make informed decisions either in support or rejection, through their elected representatives. So, any decision made, would not be a real consensus of the public. When things go wrong in the implementation of acts like invasion of another country, the public cannot be held responsible for any negative outcome of wrong decisions. The sole responsibility goes back on those who covered-up pertinent informations that would have made a difference in the publics’ decision making. Thus, whistle blowing that informs the public (citizens) of what was illegally hidden from them, and that, which brings about accountability of those involved in the cover-ups is justifiable. The public (citizens) has the right to know and the right to expect accountability in the practice of democracy.
  2. 2. Prosecution Of Whistle Blowers, Is It Justified? Whistle blowers, who do public service, by bringing back transparency and accountability, restoring the publics’ (citizens’) right and power to make informed decisions, are acting out of conscious. What is acting out of conscious? BBC gives an example of Clive Ponting who acted out of conscience. A “ jury refused to convict a senior civil servant, Clive Ponting, who revealed the real operational details of the sinking of the Argentinean battle-cruiser Belgrano during the Falklands War. The jury accepted Ponting had acted out of conscience, with integrity, and would not let the law to be used to punish such an act.” Check this article out for detail to know what is acting out of conscience? The link is: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3264373.stm So, if any law is used to prosecute whistle blowers who did a public service by acting out of conscience, it would tantamount to a miscarriage of justice to them. It would also be a form of political intimidation of the public (citizens) who in the first place was led astray. In such a context, the prosecution of whistle blowers under any law is unjustifiable. Whistle blowing is justifiable in the practice of democracy. It restores the power of the public (citizens) to make informed decisions, which many times are taken from them through deceit and manipulations that are totally undemocratic. If any prosecution of the law is to be carried out, it should be on those who acted against the public (citizens) trust. It is definitely not against those who restored the public trust. In this matter, the judiciary and judicial system of a democratic country should be the vanguard in protecting whistle blowers and the citizens.

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