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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

also whistle-blower, 1963 in the figurative sense, American English, from whistle (n.) as something sounded in an alert + agent noun from blow (v.1).


n. (alternative form of whistle-blower English)


n. an informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it; "the law gives little protection to whistleblowers who feel the public has a right to know what is going on"; "the whistleblower was fired for exposing the conditions in mental hospitals" [syn: whistle blower, whistle-blower]


A whistleblower (whistle-blower or whistle blower) is a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organization that is either private or public. The information of alleged wrongdoing can be classified in many ways: violation of company policy/rules, law, regulation, or threat to public interest/national security, as well as fraud, and corruption. Those who become whistleblowers can choose to bring information or allegations to surface either internally or externally. Internally, a whistleblower can bring his/her accusations to the attention of other people within the accused organization. Externally, a whistleblower can bring allegations to light by contacting a third party outside of an accused organization. Whistleblowers can reach out to the media, government, law enforcement, or those who are concerned but also face stiff reprisal and retaliation from those who are accused or alleged of wrongdoing.

Third-party groups like Wikileaks and others offer protection to whistleblowers, but that protection can only go so far. Whistleblowers face legal action, criminal charges, social stigma, and termination from any position, office, or job. Two other classifications of whistleblowing are private and public. The classifications relate to the type of organizations someone chooses to whistle-blow on: private sector, or public sector. Both can have different results that depend on many factors. However, whistleblowing in the public sector organization is more likely to result in federal felony charges and jail-time. A whistleblower who chooses to accuse a private sector organization or agency is more likely to face termination and legal and civil charges. Deeper questions and theories of whistleblowing and why people choose to do so can be studied through an ethical approach. Whistleblowing is truly an entirely ethical decision, and action. In the case of many like Edward Snowden, whistleblowing is seen as the last ethically right thing to do. Legal protection can also be granted to protect whistleblowers, but that protection is subject to many stipulations. Hundreds of laws grant protection to whistleblowers, but stipulations can easily cloud that protection and leave whistleblowers vulnerable to retaliation and legal trouble. However, the decision and action has become far more complicated with recent advancements in technology and communication. Whistleblowers frequently face reprisal, sometimes at the hands of the organization or group which they have accused, sometimes from related organizations, and sometimes under law. Questions about the legitimacy of whistleblowing, the moral responsibility of whistleblowing, and the appraisal of the institutions of whistleblowing are part of the field of political ethics.

Whistleblower (magazine)

Whistleblower, formerly WorldNet, is the monthly news magazine companion of WorldNetDaily. Every month features a different topic or event in the news, with articles from the website (sometimes in edited or expanded form) as well as original articles and commentary. WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian is "the driving force behind" the magazine.

Whistleblower (TV series)

Whistleblower is a two-part IFTA-winning fact-based RTÉ drama which focuses on the Michael Neary scandal that erupted in the 1990s. Neary is a retired Irish consultant obstetrician/ gynaecologist who gained notoriety when it was discovered that he had performed what was considered an inordinate number of caesarian hysterectomies during his time at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, County Louth. A subsequent inquiry found that Neary had carried out 188 peripartum over a period of 25 years, some on very young women of low parity. The average consultant obstetrician carries out 5 or 6 of these operations in their entire career. The airing of the show prompted the support group Patient Focus to renew its call on the Irish Government for every woman affected by Neary's actions to be included in the Lourdes hospital redress scheme.

Whistleblower highlights the obstacles encountered by a midwife as she blows the whistle on Michael Neary's irregular obstetric practices. It was broadcast on RTÉ One on Sunday 31 August and Monday 1 September 2008 at 21.30. The two-part drama was written by Rob Heyland and directed by Dermot Boyd. It was produced by Siobhán Bourke and Peter Norris and researched by Sheila Ahern.

Part one focuses on the discovery of the high number of hysterectomies carried out at the hospital and the subsequent reporting of the midwife's suspicions. Part two focuses on the aftermath of the revelations as threatening notes and phone calls are received whilst, with more cases coming to light, one victim of malpractice takes her case against Dr Neary to the High Court.

RTÉ was criticised for airing the controversial drama too soon after the inquiry and for making it too upsetting for all those involved. The commissioning editor of drama with the national broadcaster, Jane Gogan attempted to justify its airing by saying that "RTE hopes to convey to a wider audience the human cost of the injustices which were exposed and to illustrate the power of the individual in affecting change".

A third of the available audience watched the first episode.

Whistleblower (disambiguation)

A whistleblower is a person who exposes misconduct occurring within an organization.

Whistleblower may also refer to:

  • Whistleblower (magazine), a monthly news magazine
  • Whistleblower (TV series), a television drama
  • Whistleblower (The Office), an episode of US TV series The Office
  • Whistle Blower (film), a 2014 Korean film
  • The Whistleblower, a 2010 thriller film
  • The Whistle Blower, a 1986 British spy thriller film
Whistleblower (The Office)

"Whistleblower" is the 26th episode and season finale of the sixth season of the U.S. comedy series: The Office and the show's 126th episode overall. It originally aired on May 20, 2010 on NBC.

The series—presented as if it were a real documentary—depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. In the episode, the press learns that Sabre printers catch on fire and Jo ( Kathy Bates), suspecting that someone within the Scranton branch leaked the information, sets out to discover who the whistleblower is.

It was written by Warren Lieberstein and Halsted Sullivan and directed by Paul Lieberstein. The episode received mixed reviews from critics and was watched in 6.60 million households.

Whistleblower (album)

Whistleblower is a 2007 album by Finnish producer Sasu Ripatti under the name Vladislav Delay. It was released on Ripatti's own Huume Recordings.

Usage examples of "whistleblower".

Following the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, an Exxon-British Petroleum joint venture wiretapped and bugged the home of a whistleblower working with the US Congress.