Freedom of the Press Foundation's comment to the UN on the protection of sources and whistleblowers

Kevin Gallagher

The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, recently called for outside comments on the protection of sources and whistleblowers around the world and will be presenting a report on the subject to the UN General Assembly in October 2015. Freedom of the Press Foundation submitted our comments to the Special Rapporteur yesterday, which you can read in full below.

In our submission, we contend that whistleblowing directly to the press is vital to democracy; that the Espionage Act—the current law used to prosecute sources and whistleblowers in the United States—is unjust and amounts to a serious violation of human rights; and that the United States and other countries can make common sense fixes to their laws to provide whistleblowers the protection they deserve.

The Espionage Act and similar laws should be amended or repealed, so that these draconian tools can’t be used to punish sources and whistleblowers who increase transparency and accountability around the world. The increased ability of our government to identify sources through mass surveillance, coupled with the unprecedented crackdown on sources and whistleblowers in the United States, sets a terrible example to other governments as they grapple with increased demands for free speech protections.

These events have made this important initiative by the UN Special Rapporteur even more imperative, and we thank him for giving this issue the attention it deserves.

You can read it here: