02 Feb Julian Assange’s suggestions for whistleblower protection in the EU
Photo courtesy of a GUE/NGL event: ‘PROTECTING THE TRUTH: Safety for Journalists and Whistleblowers’. Photo by Sergio Hernandez Vilarrasa/Podemos
During the event hosted by GUE/NGL on January 30, 2018, ‘PROTECTING THE TRUTH: Safety for Journalists and Whistleblowers’, Julian Assange mentioned 5 simple tasks regarding whistleblower protection for the European Parliament to work on that are worth listing:
- End impunity: in relation to assassinations -in relation to Daphne-, but also to censorship, extra-judicial detentions and other forms of abuse.
- We should recognize a political reality: no nation can create a system that properly protects whistleblowers. It is very important to make the attempt in as much as possible. But the reality is that the major powers in every society (security services, banking and so on) will simply override whatever law is created by influencing the courts, by controlling the media, etc. But understanding that, we can create within Europe, common standards that understand that states always have a weakness, and other states can release the pressure. That pressure is released by asylum. When state structures cannot hold. When the power elements are too strong to abide by their owns rules and standards, then those whistleblowers can take shelter in other states in Europe. The same goes for publishers, political activists and politicians.
- Stop cross-border censorship: The case of Daphne Caruana Galizia is very interesting. Her real impact came about because she was able to publish not using the Maltese press. She was able to publish using a blog that had service outside of Malta. The refugee publishing that are able to speak back to the home audience, I believe has been the single greatest contributor to freedom of information in the 20th century: cross-border publishing. But a move has been put forward to censor at the national level, to stop cross-border publishing. That’s what Germany and many states in Europe have come to do, using the excuse of censoring cross-border piracy, downloading songs, censoring the pirate bay, and so one. Those technical and legal standards that have been erected serve for cross-border censorship.
- Anti-trust legislation: there is an epic struggle occurring now in the heart of the EU in relation to whether enormous distributors like Google, Facebook, Amazon, AT&T and Vodafone which control much of the internet infrastructure will be allowed to grow until there is only perhaps 3 of them in existence. Already, the concentration of media ownership is leading to the ability to censor cross-border publishing, and of course to rapidly accelerate the spying on journalists and their sources.
- This is the least politically interesting, but the most likely to succeed: broad spectrum funding at the EU level for resistance to spying and resistance for censorship. The funding of a research project at the technical level, to a degree also at the legal and political level, to find systems that protect sources and protect journalists.