The Ethics of Whistleblowing  book cover
1st Edition

The Ethics of Whistleblowing

ISBN 9781138343696
Published May 22, 2019 by Routledge
110 Pages

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USD $74.95

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Book Description

Following the enormous political, legal, and media interest that has surrounded high profile cases of whistleblowing, such as Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, the fundamental ethical questions surrounding whistleblowing have often been obscured. In this fascinating book Eric Boot examines the ethical issues at stake in whistleblowing.

Can the disclosure of classified government documents ever be justified? If so, how? Why does it require justification in the first place? Can there ever be a duty to blow the whistle? When is breaking the law justified?

On a more practical level, this book also considers the various whistleblower protection documents and finds them often lacking in consistency and clarity, before providing an argument for a plausible "public interest" defense for whistleblowers.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction 

2. A pro tanto wrong 

3. The public interest and the justification of whistleblowing 

4. Possible legal defenses for justified whistleblowing (1): A right to whistleblowing? 

5. Possible legal defenses for justified whistleblowing (2): A public interest defense 

6. Obligatory whistleblowing. 


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Eric R. Boot is a Lecturer at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He is also the author of Human Duties and the Limits of Human Rights Discourse (2017).