The obvious frustration of Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs with the frequent circulation online of leaked internal documents (see Thursday paper) is understandable. After all, government needs to be seen as trustworthy by the people and a reliable business partner also for investors, etc.
Leaking confidential information with malicious intent is no doubt wrong, but history shows this occasionally does society a service if it concerns improprieties. Of course, there are other ways to address perceived injustices, including filing a complaint with the Ombudsman or going to court, but if all else fails exposure can be an effective way to prompt action against such apparent wrongdoings.
The global trend of protecting so-called “whistle blowers” in the public sector is based on the reality that regular channels to report suspected irregularities at times simply prove insufficient. And, as the prime minister and NA leader surely knows, this is the age of extreme transparency.
She mentioned journalists who publish official documents and how people don’t realise “it could also be my family member who is a civil servant, whose name is in that document, who should not be out there.” A good practice in these situations can be to erase and/or omit the names of those not considered an active contributor to whatever transgressions may have occurred.
Most reputable media houses will only publish if relevant, which in practice often means there seems to be something amiss. Let’s face it, otherwise it wouldn’t be news.