Whistleblowing is an act that is completely necessary in today’s ever-changing corporate environment. The sole purpose for prosecuting whistleblowers is to protect the people who do not want what is best for the general public from being caught up in their own wrongdoings. In today’s society, corruption can be found everywhere. There are always going to be people who try and swindle others in order to create an advantage for themselves. There is also a population who wish to shed light upon these acts of selfishness, however they cannot achieve this due to the harsh limitations that the government has put into place regarding the publication of certain information, according to Michael Calderone of The Huffington Post. The government of the People’s Republic of North Korea indicts anyone who even thinks about revealing classified information if they can get hold of it in the first place. By doing things like this, the government of these United States is only regressing, similar to those of communist states. These prosecutions stem the free flow of information to the public that is crucial in a functional democracy. These prosecutions stem the growth of our nation as a whole. Quite frankly the more the government tries to regulate and control critical information, the more damage it does to the quality of our democracy.
Others claim that the government must do everything in its power to protect national security by preventing these leaks, and that includes prosecuting all those involved in leaking and publishing classified information. People like Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court have said that the First Amendment does not provide a defense for criminal activity, and when people solicit government employees and information, they are involving themselves in a crime. Their idea is that all government employees who leak classified information, regardless of motive, are legally susceptible to prosecution for breaking their oaths of secrecy, for breaking their morality as a person.
The only reason that this is considered illegal activity is because of the harsh constitutions that are in place such as the Espionage Act of 1917. This act was originally made to keep people from interfering with military operations and recruitment during wartime. However, it is still used today to punish people who try to tell the general public what they have right to know. It is time for an update in legislation. There have been small steps taken towards greater protection for whistleblowers, however they are not significant enough. To say that publishing information that the government secludes is detrimental to society is a logical error, plain and simple. This contradicts the idea of democracy. In simplest terms, a democracy is a government not only for the people but by the people. How can the power be vested in the people if the government chooses to keep certain information undisclosed?
Unfortunately, the Obama administration has prosecuted more people under the Espionage Act than all other past administrations combined. In his own presidential campaign, words like “Hope” and “Change” were used to describe this agency, so why not apply change to harmful regulations like this? However just reading about this pressing issue is simply not enough to make a significant change. There are countless online petitions that are available to help make your voice heard. By taking a small amount of time out of your day and visiting sites such as http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/tell-congress-whistleblowers and signing onto the movement, we can help whistleblowers gain the protection that they so rightfully deserve.