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4 - Whistleblowing Speech and Democratic Accountability

The Growing Problem of Reduced First Amendment Protection for Government Employee Speech

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 August 2019

Ronald J. Krotoszynski, Jr.
Affiliation:
University of Alabama
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Summary

Democratic self-government relies on regular elections to ensure that government remains accountable and responsible to the body politic. However, for elections to serve as a reliable means of securing government accountability, the voters must have access to relevant information about the successes – and failures – of those who currently hold office.1 Without information, the electoral process cannot serve as an effective means of ensuring government accountability for both its actions and its failures to act.2 This holds true as a general matter, but holds doubly true in a period when the incumbent White House administration openly and brazenly embraces the concept of “alternative facts.”3

Professor David Anderson observes that for James Madison and the other proponents of the Bill of Rights, “freedom of the press was inextricably related to the new republican form of government and would have to be protected if their vision of government by the people was to succeed.”4 The press obviously plays a crucial role in facilitating the process of democratic deliberation and government accountability.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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