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Whistleblower

Also known as whistle-blower or whistle blower, the term comes allegedly from the whistle a referee uses to indicate foul play, although it personally rather reminds me of the whistle the London policemen use when persecuting the baddies in the movies. According to the English Wikipedia, US civic activist Ralph Nader coined the term in the early 1970s to avoid the negative connotations found in other words such as "informers" and "snitches". As whistleblowers can do society a great service other languages should also be able to express their gratitude to people who, often at great personal risk, expose to the general public the wrongdoings of those in power, be it politicians or economical moguls or corporations. This may be the right moment to spare a thought for Mordechai Vanunu, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Watergate’s Deep Throat, aka William Mark Felt Sr., Ryszard Jerzy Kukliński, Edward Snowden, Paul van Buitenen and the many others who risked their professional future, liberty and life to expose the misdeeds of the recklessly powerful. Now we only need a term for this concept in other languages, so the informers or the snitches do not sound like traitors, but as the ones doing a great service to society. When the Spanish language does not find a better term than alertador (well yes, it is better than soplón or chivato and much better than delator, but nonetheless not perfect and very rarely used) and the German language simply copies whistleblower as it is (which is also better than Petzer, Denunziant or Verräter, I must admit, but not really widely known yet to the general public, although this may be about to change), it is time to give those languages a helping hand. French also needs help, as the term in this language seems to be lanceur d'alerte in France (well, alright…) or even dénonciateur in Québec and the French-speaking part of Canada. Conceded, Canadian French is not my mother tongue at all, but dénonciateur?!? There must be something better that that. Please help!
Other blogs use wonderful arguments to defend whistleblowers [in German, on Immanuel Kant and whistleblowing]. I could not have expressed it better.

Update: Today at the European Parliament I heard MEP Miguel Hernán Crespo speak of filtradores, a term in Spanish that eliminates the negative conotations of the words discussed above. Thanks a lot, Miguel, and keep on fighting to avoid the extradition of Hervé Falciani to Swizerland!

Kommentare

 
Am 22.04.2018 um 10:53 von Robert
German language also offers "Enthüller" and "Hinweisgeber".
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Am 22.04.2018 um 10:56 von Jordi
That is good, Robert, thank you very much. It feels like this one is about solved. :-)
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