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Whistleblowing During COVID-19 · Disruptive Fridays #7

Whistleblowing During COVID-19 · Disruptive Fridays #7


Renata Avila, Joseph Farrell, Rima Sghaier, Tatiana Bazzichelli


Disruption Network Lab





Disruptive Fridays #7 – Whistleblowing During COVID-19 focuses on the role of whistleblowers during COVID-19 and discusses the importance of exposing the truth during the pandemic.


Renata Avila (Executive Director of Ciudadanía Inteligente, GTM)

Joseph Farrell (WikiLeaks Ambassador, UK)

Rima Sghaier (Outreach & Research Fellow, Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights, TUN/IT)

Tatiana Bazzichelli (Founder & Director, Disruption Network Lab, e. V., IT/DE)

Some weeks ago, a coalition of 95 public authorities, NGOs, and institutions has signed a letter proposed by The Good Lobby & Fibgar to protect those who report or expose the harms, abuses and wrongdoing that arise during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brings into stark relief the importance of accountability and the need for regular and reliable information from our public institutions and our leaders. The people of every affected country need to know the truth about the spread of the disease both locally and internationally in order to respond effectively and help protect their communities. Fairness, transparency and cooperation are vital and never more so than during a pandemic.”

The role of whistleblowers is crucial in times of crisis to expose wrongdoing and misconducts in private and public institutions, health systems, working environments, commercial and delivery markets, and to denounce abuses of personal privacy, both on the digital sphere and the everyday life. The work of whistleblowers is central to denounce power violations and to protect the most vulnerable sectors of our society, but also whistleblowers are people at risk. They are subjects of repression and opposition before and after blowing the whistle, and often confined in isolation, imprisoned or persecuted while their civil rights are suspended.

In a moment in which governments are entitle to use extraordinary powers without proper public oversight and transparency, we need to protect whistleblowers and discuss forms of collective participation to guarantee global safety and accountability, as well as to defend the human rights and freedoms of all people.

Read more here about whistleblowers around the world that got silenced or suffered persecution during COVID-19.

Renata Avila (Executive Director of Ciudadanía Inteligente, GTM)
Renata Avila, International Human Rights Lawyer, Technology Expert. Co-convener of the Progressive International, a global initiative launching in May 2020 with a mission to unite, organise, and mobilise progressive forces around the world. She has been a part of the legal and advocacy team of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for over a decade. She writes regularly for El Diario (Spain) and Open Democracy.

Joseph Farrell (WikiLeaks Ambassador, UK)
Joseph A. Farrell is a WikiLeaks ambassador and a Centre for Investigative Journalism board member. He has been a section editor for many important WikiLeaks’ publications including the Iraq and Afghan War Logs and Cablegate to name but a few. He was a member of the Civil Society Coalition at the WIPO diplomatic conference on a treaty for copyright exceptions for persons with disabilities in Marrakesh, Morocco. Farrell regularly appears on TV networks analysing the week’s news headlines.

Rima Sghaier (Outreach & Research Fellow, Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights, TUN/IT)
Rima Sghaier is an international citizen born in Tunisia and currently based in Milan, where she leads outreach and localisation efforts at the Hermes Center, managing and contributing to projects to support NGOs, media, and investigative journalists to create secure whistleblowing platforms. She is the program manager of Digital Whistleblowing Fund, a small-grant project by the Hermes Center and Renewable Freedom Foundation that enables investigative journalism groups and human rights grassroots organisations to apply to receive financial, operational and strategic support in starting a secure digital whistleblowing initiative.

Tatiana Bazzichelli (Founder & Director, Disruption Network Lab, IT/DE)
Tatiana Bazzichelli is founder and artistic director of the Disruption Network Lab, an organisation in Berlin working on information technology, network culture, hacktivism and whistleblowing. In 2011-2014 she was programme curator at transmediale festival, where she developed the year-round initiative reSource transmedial culture berlin and curated several conference events, workshops and installations. She has been appointed jury member for the Hauptstadtkulturfonds (Capital Cultural Fund) by the German Federal Government and Berlin for the funding years 2019-2020).

Photo Courtesy of the organisation

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