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Journalists help whistleblowers stay safe in Eastern Europe, Central Asia

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project launched a new, secure whistleblowing platform last week. OCCRP Leaks is a way for honest officials and other whistleblowers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to pass information to the OCCRP anonymously.

The OCCRP said it developed the site in partnership with the Hermes Center For Transparency and Digital Human Rights and Hivos International.

“Keeping whistleblowers safe from the powers they seek to expose has historically been a challenge for media,” the OCCRP said.

The new site is one of the most secure systems available online, the group said. “The platform uses secure HTTPS encryption with the option of enhanced protection using the Tor browser, which can be downloaded from the OCCRP Leaks website.”

OCCRP is a not-for-profit joint program of regional non-profit investigative centers and for profit independent media. Since its founding, it said, its reporting has led to more than $300 million seized by law enforcement, 75 people arrested or indicted, 20 laws changes, more than 2,500 companies shut down, nearly a dozen resignations by government officials, the banning of a political party, and the closing of a university.

Drew Sullivan, editor of the OCCRP, said it’s the responsibility of government officials not involved in corruption to tell the people what’s really happening.

“They can do this by leaking documents,” Sullivan said. The OCCRP said it use the documents to conduct investigations and report its findings.

Sullivan said “every government official needs to pick a side” — either with other honest officials and citizens, or with the kleptocrats and crooks. OCCRP Leaks was launched to help the honest officials.

The OCCRP been supported by grants from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Open Society Foundations. It’s registered as the Journalism Development Network, a Maryland-based 501(c)(3) charitable organization.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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