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US president should settle record on treatment of whistleblowers

(CPJ/IFEX) - 23 January 2013 - The following is a CPJ Blog post:

By Sara Rafsky/CPJ Americas Research Associate

As pundits debate how Barack Obama will tackle guns, climate change, immigration, and the debt ceiling in his newly inaugurated second term, press freedom advocates are left questioning how the U.S. president will handle another, no-less-controversial issue: the treatment of whistleblowers and officials who leak information to the media.

The president's record on this subject has been notably mixed. It started off promisingly enough: on the 2008 campaign trail, candidate Obama voiced broad support for whistleblowers, declaring on his website, "Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled."

Shortly after the inauguration in 2009, the administration stated its goal of being the most "transparent administration in history."

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