Edited by A. J. Brown, David Lewis, Richard E. Moberly and Wim Vandekerckhove
Chapter 11: Going public: Researching external whistleblowing in a new media age
The information revolution in all its facets presents challenges and opportunities for the media. One of the biggest opportunities of this revolution is the proliferation of information and communication technology (ICT) that allow individuals, groups and teams to socialize, collaborate and connect to online content across time and space. This ability, particularly the use of social media, is extremely significant in terms of its impact on whistleblowing. External whistleblowing, including whistleblowing to the media, is clearly affected by the information revolution. Evidence of this includes the emergence of a new media organization, WikiLeaks. To date little research has been undertaken to study the impact of the information revolution on external whistleblowing. In Chapter 12 of this volume, Moberly addresses the bulk of whistleblowing which goes to non-media recipients. In this chapter we investigate the implications of the information age for whistleblowers and for whistleblowers interacting with journalists. We present our findings into the impact of new media and the information age on whistleblowing. Our findings present the dual perspectives of journalists and whistleblowers. We interviewed 17 investigative journalists and four high-profile whistleblowers seeking to understand how the information age has impacted on the interaction between journalists and whistleblowers. We have found that there is a false sense of security in information technology amongst journalists and whistleblowers. Additionally, both journalists and whistleblowers prefer the personal touch in blowing the whistle. On the face of it, new technology presents barriers for communicating with whistleblowers.
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