Friday, April 23, 2010


Whistleblower. An informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organisation in the hope of stopping it

Whistleblowers have brought about the downfall of many governments and companies, and are championed as heroes by the media.

World history is full of whistleblowers. Like Daniel Ellsberg, the State Department officer that in 1971 gave the “Pentagon Papers” (history of the US political-military involvement in Vietnam) to the New York Times.

Or Jeffrey Wigand, who exposed the Big Tobacco scandal, revealing that tobacco company executives knew that cigarette ingredients were addictive. The film The Insider is based on his story.

Brave soldier Joseph Darby was the one who in 2004 alerted the prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
being carried out by his US military colleagues.

However not all
whistleblowers are regarded as heroes. Joseph Darby had to sleep with a gun under his pillow because his life was under threat from the men in the next beds.

The whistleblower's life changes irreversibly, often for the worse. Like British
nurse Margaret Haywood who took part in a secret filming for the UK investigative show Panorama in 2005. Her intentions to expose serious failings in the care of the elderly in hospital were undoubtedly noble.

However, as a result of her participation in the television documentary she was removed from the nurse register for having breached patient confidentiality. After a 20-year career she couldn't imagine a life without nursing.

Downfall. Something causing ruin, failure.
An infraction or violation, of a law, trust, faith, or promise

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