Whistleblower Protection and The Snowden Effect

The global landscape is shifting for organizations and specialists protecting and defending whistleblowers—those who speak out and take action in the public interest. The evolution of the national security state in the developed world reveals the extent to which human and civil rights have eroded behind a façade of democratic rhetoric that lacks any implementation internationally. Corporate power increasingly influences international finance and trade agreements, while democratic accountability measures remain confined to national settings where they are rapidly becoming obsolete.

During this gathering, a panel of experts discuss their work in the realm of national security and whistleblower protection around the world. Drawing on experience working with governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, and whistleblowers, the panelists set out the steps that must be taken now to preserve freedom of expression and dissent. They discuss concrete efforts to develop and promote appropriate international and national legal standards and best practices, and to respond to regressive legislative initiatives, including in South Africa, Macedonia, and Japan. They identify questions to help analyze when support for whistleblowers could be a useful element of a funding portfolio, and highlight resources that could be useful for both funders and grantees.


  • Florin Postica, Senior Investigator, Office of Internal Oversight Services, “United Nations: Whistleblowing in an International Context”;
  • Anna Myers, Expert Coordinator, Whistleblowing International Network (WIN), “Building an International Toolbox for Whistleblowers”;
  • Bea Edwards, WIN Steering Committee & Executive Director of the Government Accountability Project, “Whistleblowing and Democracy: Exposing the Repression behind the Rhetoric”;
  • Sandra Coliver, Senior Legal Officer for Freedom of Information and Expression, Open Society Justice Initiative, “Efforts to Strengthen Protections for National Security Whistleblowers around the World”;
  • Conrad Martin, Executive Director, Stewart Mott Foundation (Moderator).