The Great Debate UK

Whistleblowers need protection


BRITAIN- Gavin MacFadyen is Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit training charity, who advance education for, and public understanding of investigative journalism. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Whether the press, or even the police (if Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin has his way) succeed in unmasking the person who leaked MPs’ expense details to the Daily Telegraph, one thing which remains troubling in this story is the alleged exchange of money for those 1.2 million-or-so damning documents.

Journalist Heather Brooke, whose five-year struggle to obtain details on MPs’ expenses set this story running in the first place, described last week a “black market” created by the parliamentary culture of secrecy around this topic.

Disclosure of these documents has been delayed and delayed under Freedom of Information legislation, and was due for publication in late summer (albeit in redacted, and it is argued, selective form), before the Telegraph swooped.