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"Ventriloquists’ dummies" or truth bringers? The journalist’s role in giving whistle-blowers a voice

Lashmar, P. ORCID: 0000-0001-9049-3985 (2021). "Ventriloquists’ dummies" or truth bringers? The journalist’s role in giving whistle-blowers a voice. In: Price, L. T., Sanders, K. & Wyatt, W. N. (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Journalism Ethics. . London: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780429262708


Whistle-blowing is a high-profile and high-risk activity. As the cases of Edward Snowden, Katherine Gun, Chelsey Manning, Dr Li Wenliang, and Sergie Magnitsky reveal, it can result in death, prison, or exile. However, every year a small number of people choose to take this course of action, driven by their own moral prerogatives. That they so choose is vital for journalism if it is to maintain its fourth-estate role. Unlike confidential sources, whistle-blowers tend to surface without previous contact and, therefore, require extensive verification. Seasoned reporters will note that each whistle-blower is unique, with their own dynamic, motivation, and psychology. This chapter explores the complex relationship between whistle-blowers and journalists.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge Companion to Journalism Ethics on 25 August 2021, available online:
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
[thumbnail of Lashmar third draft edited(PL).pdf]
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