Whistle Blowing for Change

Exposing Systems of Power & Injustice
Conferece & Book Launch:

Whistleblowing is one of the most difficult means of exposing misconducts and informing the public about unknown facts that must be revealed. It is an act based on ethics, honesty and accountability, that confronts abuses, discrimination, corruption and exploitation. Whistleblowers are people that want to change systems for the better, but that in many cases encounter reprisal and persecution. In other cases, they trust the systems too much, realising too late, and at high personal costs, that these systems are not willing to improve.

Inspired by courageous acts of whistleblowing reporting wrongdoing and social injustices to the public, this event presents the concept of WHISTLEBLOWING FOR CHANGE. Disruption Network Lab releases its book on whistleblowing (published on November 27, 2021, by transcript Verlag), giving voice to 30 contributors among which whistleblowers, journalists, activists, artists and critical thinkers, that report on deemed illegal, unsafe or abusive behaviours perpetrated by the systems they are part of. The challenge is to reflect on the impact of whistleblowing at a broad level, as a practice that can help to shape a better world.

In some contexts of law, politics, and society, whistleblowing is still targeted as a form of treason. This is seen not only in the context of releasing classified information, but also in the mindset that stigmatises such acts as something deplorable. The consequence is that in our society, whistleblowers are persecuted, disregarded, isolated, and strong measures are taken against them.

We believe that whistleblowing should become a civil right. Our hope is that by conceptually expanding this act to a various set of practices, it will contribute to making people who are heavily persecuted for speaking out more supported. Many of the authors who have been invited to take part in this anthology, and are speaking at this conference, contribute to exposing systems of power and injustice, and often pay a high price for revealing the truth.  

It is very difficult to understand the deep meaning of whistleblowing without getting to personally know the people who have blown the whistle, or the wider community of activists, journalists, advocates, and researchers who work in this field. Although whistleblowing is often part of a dry and technical discourse, it relates intimately to the lives of the people who experience it, or work on it. Our conference and the related book anthology seek to bring these lives and this work closer to the audience and, therefore, many speakers will present their personal reflections on the matter.

At the conference WHISTLEBLOWING FOR CHANGE at Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin, whistleblowers, journalists, activists, artists, filmmakers, advocates and critical thinkers, meet to discuss how whistleblowing is contributing to change in society, culture and politics. The common goal is to connect different expertise, foster new investigations, and examine collective methods to expose systems of power and injustice.

The conference WHISTLEBLOWING FOR CHANGE starts with the German premiere of the film United States vs. Reality Winner (2021, by Sonia Kennebeck), the story of 25-year-old NSA contractor and whistleblower Reality Winner, and develops through panel conversations with some of our book’s contributors.

WHISTLEBLOWING FOR CHANGE is an invitation to dig deeper and keep fighting.

The event is the first step of a deep debate on the effects of whistleblowing in culture, politics and society, and it is linked to a second conference, NETWORKED WARFARE, that will take place at the same venue in Berlin on March 25-27, 2022. In March we will focus on the drone war and surveillance technologies, which were the topics of our first conference in April 2015 and also an important topic of our anthology.