Ten courageous whistleblowers have been recognised with prizes at this year’s Blueprint for Free Speech Whistleblowing Awards.
Daniel Ellsberg, one of the whistleblowers behind the Pentagon Papers, received a LifeTime Achievement Award at the ceremony. Speaking at the ceremony, Ellsberg raised awareness about the US government’s increasing hostility towards whistleblowers.
Ellsberg’s comments come as the US continues battling to extradite Julian Assange from the UK. After enduring various forms of detention and scrutiny over the last decade, it is becoming more and more likely that Assange’s story ends with him in the hands of US law enforcement.
The recent ruling against Assange in the High Court in London is cause for growing concern that whistleblowers and journalists could face harsh penalties—such as extradition—as a consequence of their work. Whistleblowers and journalists are an essential part of maintaining our democratic society, upholding human rights, and protecting against corruption.
They should not be punished for their honest and critical work, but instead celebrated — as journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov were when they received the Nobel Peace Prize in October.
Among the award winners at the 2021 Blueprint For Free Speech Whistleblower Awards were Babita Deokaran, Jonathan Taylor, and François van der Westhuizen, Pieter Snyders, and Paul Hopkins.
The OPTF recognises the integrity and importance of these whistleblowers, the journalists that work with them, and everybody who works to expose corruption, political collusion, and professional misconduct which is in the public interest.