Online platforms for whistle-blowers
All over the world you find governments, large corporations or criminal gangs who sweep incriminating information under the carpet. Since 2017, whistle-blowers in Nigeria and Indonesia have been able to share information safely and anonymously with the press via two online platforms. After all, for investigative journalists and their audience, it is crucial that people dare to open their mouths about abuses.
Independent media must be able to expose corruption and abuse of power. But what if sources are afraid to say anything because they have been threatened with violence or legal action? In 2013, Free Press Unlimited set up a secure online platform for those whistle-blowers in the Netherlands: Publeaks, which has already generated more than 200 disclosures. In 2015, a platform followed a country where unsafe communication can be life-threatening: Mexicoleaks. Free Press Unlimited used this experience and together with local media, developed two new platforms in Nigeria and Indonesia in 2017.
In November 2017, Nigeria got its own whistle-blower platform Leaks.ng. And it was not a needless luxury: in Nigeria you can be prosecuted if your leaked information is labelled as incorrect. A coalition of 17 media and social organisations, brought together by Free Press Unlimited, set up the platform.
Leaks.ng is managed by the Coalition for Whistle-blower and Press Freedom (CWPF), which actively works for whistle-blowers in Nigeria. It lobbied intensively for a new law for the better protection of whistle-blowers. The bill has now been approved by the House of Representatives and has also passed the Senate’s first reading.
A month after the launch of Leaks.ng, 10 newspapers, radio and TV channels and online news sites, together with 5 social organisations and Free Press Unlimited, launched the platform IndonesiaLeaks. Our partner PPMN coordinates the platform, where renowned media such as Tempo, The Jakarta Post and CNN Indonesia work together with organisations such as Indonesia Corruption Watch and Greenpeace Indonesia.
That IndonesiaLeaks meets a strong need, was obvious when the first useful tips came in immediately after the launch. Director Nawawi Baharudin of Coalition Partner Legal Aid Institute for the Press: ‘In the past, many whistle-blowers who went straight to the police with proof of corruption, worried for their own safety.’ Thanks to IndonesiaLeaks, that is a thing of the past.
Free Press Unlimited plays a crucial role in the development of these platforms. We bring media together, give tailored advice and train them in digital security. We learned from Mexicoleaks that the building of local capacity is essential for the sustainable survival of such a platform. We also insist on and share our expertise in conducting a PR campaign, so that potential whistle-blowers can rest assured they can share their information safely. In 2018, we will be expanding the current leak platforms with a mobile version and we will explore the possibilities for platforms in countries such as Pakistan and Tunisia.
Project since: 2013
Donor: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and member contributions Publeaks