Philosophy and Social Criticism 43 (7):669-684 (2017)

Authors
Manohar Kumar
Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology
Daniele Santoro
Universidade do Minho
Abstract
Whistleblowing is the act of disclosing information from a public or private organization in order to reveal cases of corruption that are of immediate or potential danger to the public. Blowing the whistle involves personal risk, especially when legal protection is absent, and charges of betrayal, which often come in the form of legal prosecution under treason laws. In this article we argue that whistleblowing is justified when disclosures are made with the proper intent and fulfill specific communicative constraints in addressing issues of public interest. Three communicative constraints of informativeness, truthfulness and evidence are discussed in this regard. We develop a ‘harm test’ to assess the intent for disclosures, concluding that it is not sufficient for justification. Along with the proper intent, a successful act of whistleblowing should provide information that serves the public interest. Taking cognizance of the varied conceptions of public interest, we present an account of public interest that fits the framework of whistleblowing disclosures. In particular, we argue that whistleblowing is justified inter alia when the information it conveys is of a presumptive interest for a public insofar as it reveals an instance of injustice or violation of a civil or political right done against and unbeknown to some members of a polity.
Keywords whistleblowing  secrecy  public interest
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DOI 10.1177/0191453717708469
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References found in this work BETA

Self-Defense.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1991 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 20 (4):283-310.
The Ethics of Government Whistleblowing.Candice Delmas - 2015 - Social Theory and Practice 41 (1):77-105.
Democratizing Civil Disobedience.Robin Celikates - 2016 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (10):982-994.

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Citations of this work BETA

Theories of Whistleblowing.Emanuela Ceva & Michele Bocchiola - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 15 (1).
Whistleblowing and Power: A Network Perspective.R. Guy Thomas - 2020 - Business Ethics: A European Review 29 (4):842-855.
Leaks and the Limits of Press Freedom.Eric R. Boot - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (2):483-500.

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