The U.S. has a long history of whistleblowing, dating back to the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1788. The Act underscores whistleblowing as a duty, despite the personal and professional risks such actions entail. However, the experiences and repercussions of whistleblowing are varied, as highlighted by the cases of Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, and Reality Winner, who exposed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This piece examines the complexities surrounding whistleblowing, the role of whistleblowers in promoting transparency, and the efforts to officially recognize “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.”
Julian Assange’s ongoing legal battle underscores the threats to press freedom and the precarious position whistleblowers often find themselves in. Despite facing extradition to the U.S. and charges under the Espionage Act, numerous national and international advocacy groups continue to support Assange. While these brave individuals expose truths at significant personal risk, efforts persist to foster a more supportive culture towards whistleblowing, particularly through the proposed Executive Order to permanently recognize National Whistleblower Day.
To fully appreciate the nuanced world of whistleblowing and its implications for transparency and governance, delve into the full piece here.