Whistle-blowers are the people revealing unlawful activities and wrongdoings within a system. Although this definiton changes from person to person, it brings two labels with itself: hero and traitor. While hero is a person noted for courageous acts, traitor is a betrayer. So, what do whistle-blowers deserve to be lebelled as? This is controversial like its definition. Some declare them as heroes thinking that whistle-blowers give a chance to correct the system while the others declare them as traitors claiming that they endanger the national security. No matter which you choose, they have a vital role in shaping our world. And actually they deserve one title: heroes. Because they’re dedicated to free the freedom and justice from the hands of the corrupt system by risk losing everything.
Firstly, they are heroes because they try to protect basic human rights such as privacy and give us a chance to correct the system. Do you remember Edward Snowden who blew his whistle on NSA(an agency founded to prevent and predict crimes by monitoring messages, telephone calls, the internet). He was one of these heroes. Before the disclosure, he had a wonderful life, job and family. He gave up them just for two things: the truth and the right of privacy. According to his sayings, this agency deviated from its main purpose and started to monitor over more people to store more information with the programs such as Prism, social networks like Facebook, Youtube. The agency founded to provide safety actually violated our safety and the 12th article related to privacy of Universal Human Rights. Realizing that, he disclosed this agency’s wrongdoings to The Guardian and Washington Post under the name ‘Verax’ meaning ‘truth teller’ in Latin. He says ”I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.” . In fact, he succeded. Now even the executive chairman of Google says that Edward Snowden has helped the company better protect its customers’ privacy from unwarranted intrusions. Briefly, all he did was seeing a corruption and giving a chance to correct it.
Secondly, they are heroes because they’re like early warning systems trying to protect us from big disasters. To explain further, let’s continue with a date, 20 April 2010. It’s the date of the greatest oil spill in USA’s history, BP Deepwater Horizon explosion. As a result of this explosion, 4.9m barrels of oil released into the Gulf of Mexico, 11 people died and lots of animals were injured. All of them could be a parallel universe scenario if necessary precautions had been taken, if BP(oil company) had listened to the whistle-blowers’ warnings. Unfortunately, they chose to cover up. How do we know that? With the help of an anonymous whistle-blower, of course. The evidence provided by this person shows the company’s negligence of safety measures just to proceed for more profits. That’s exactly why we should do nothing than encourage whistle-blowers, they’re our saviors even if we don’t listen to them sometimes.
On the other hand, these are just one side. There is also opposite side labelling whistle-blowers as traitors. According to them, whistle-blowers are not as innocent as they seem. The incentive behind their actions is not saving their country and people, it’s just satisfaction of their selfish goals. Moreover, filmmaker Alex Gibney makes astonishig claims showing that political motives could be one of these goals. After spending some time with the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, he realized that Assange was using Wikileaks to spread his political wievs more effectively. And if we go back to our first example, Edward Snowden, we can encounter another goal. According to a summary of the two-year report by the House Intelligence Committee, he had some serious problems with his managers and criticized harshly by them before starting to download illegaly classified documents. In the light of this, it’s thought that Snowden’s disclosures resulted from his wish to take revenge. Also, all these disclosures endanger the national security system by providing terrorists and rival countries with information about the surveillance policies. John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations says ”I’d have to say making it public is worse than espionage, because then you have 190 governments that learn America’s secrets.”. In short, they do worse things than just being a spy. So what’s the point in making them our heroes?