Whistleblowing is now considered among the most effective and powerful means to expose and combat crime, corruption and public health threats. It has been endorsed by the UN, OECD and major international organizations, and it has broad support from the human rights, anti-corruption, workers’ rights, access to information, and freedom of speech communities.
In particular, digital whistleblowing is being more and more used to fight corruption, defend human rights and the environment, for civil rights activism and electoral integrity monitoring, as well as for watchdog initiatives such as investigative journalism groups and independent media.
Because digital whistleblowing is an enormously effective and adaptable tool for all of these initiatives, we seek to support and strengthen it in a coordinated, sustainable and impactful effort.
The Digital Whistleblowing Fund is a small-grant project by the Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Rights and Renewable Freedom Foundation that will provide support to those willing to start projects that actively engage in the solicitation of citizens and employees to report corruption and wrongdoings.
Grassroots organizations that set up digital whistleblowing projects include investigative journalists and groups, human rights and environmental activists, anti-corruption groups, media and free speech activists, and many more. However, many are underfunded and lack the specific and mixed set of skills in essential areas to successfully run a whistleblowing initiative: strategic, organizational, legal, IT, and security.
The Digital Whistleblowing Fund enables these organizations to apply for and receive financial, operational and strategic support to start digital whistleblowing initiatives, as part of their social mission.
The structure of services portfolio to be provided, along with small financial grants, for successful whistleblowing initiative has been analysed in our Whistleblowing Everywhere project in 2015.
A selection committee composed of key individuals/organizations from the whistleblowing, journalism, human rights activism, anti-corruption and hacking ecosystems would evaluate the received applications.
The Digital Whistleblowing Fund will run periodical thematic calls, also depending on the contribution of specific funders, such as “anti-corruption activism”, “reporting on gender-based violence” or “environmental activism”.