Alagi Yorro Jallow

(JollofNews) – Democracy in the digital era and the threat to Privacy and Individual Freedoms highlights the need for democratic oversight and transparency.

Whistleblowers play a crucial role in ensuring transparency and freedom of information. The Gambian people should Strongly recommend that the National Assembly, as part of their oversight function, enact coherent and comprehensive legislation on the protection of whistleblowers in line with international standards and best practices.

Whistleblowers should never be prosecuted for exposing the unlawful practices of our government. They are courageous and should be protected, not punished! And to prosecute journalists is dangerous. This would make it easier for the corrupt to get away with their crimes.

The principles of transparency and openness are at great risk if we continue to allow governments to seek out and prosecute those who leak important and revealing information for the benefit and information of the people. It is the duty of the people to hold their governments to account. Whistleblowers play a key role in enabling this scrutiny through transparency.

As citizens, as free businesses, and as a species that requires social interaction and connectivity to thrive, we should all do more to protect them.

Journalists and whistleblowers perform an essential service in ensuring transparency – often where government would keep us in the dark. There are at present very few means by which wrongdoing within government agencies can be exposed, and therefore it falls to individuals. There is no question that protecting national security is important, but public interest journalism and individual ethics have their place in democracy alongside security and the law.

Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter it or protest.

Transparency is a virtue, anyone who acts in secrecy and fears the day his or her actions are exposed knows what they do is wrong. We should appreciate the whistleblowers, the leakers, and anyone who exposes truth. We should use the truth to determine our own informed response and demand transparency from those who profess to represent us.

By Alagi Yorro Jallow 

The author is founder and former managing editor of The Independent, the Gambia’s only private newspaper before it was banned by the government in 2005. He was a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, a 2007 Nieman fellow and is the author of Delayed Democracy: How Press Freedom Collapsed in Gambia published in 2013.