Latamleaks, the new platform to denounce corruption in Latin America
After major corruption cases that shook Latin America such as Odebrecht, Lava Jato, the Panama Papers, among others; a group of organizations decided to launch this journalistic platform with the objective of promoting the culture of anonymous reporting, one of the edges that made it possible to dismantle large networks of corruption. In alliance with investigative journalists in the region, Latamleaks covers various issues such as human rights violations, environmental damage, corruption, etc.
The idea of Latamleaks is to bring together in one place civil society organizations and media that investigate corruption issues, in order to facilitate access to whistleblowers or alerts. In previous experiences, a person with sensitive information had to resort on his own to the media or specialized journalists to make a complaint, with the risks to his life that this could entail. In order to avoid this dissemination of actors, Latamleaks proposes that through a single click, the whistleblower can get in touch with journalists from several countries who, in addition to handling the information properly, can also protect the identity of the denouncer.
Bruno Galizzi, the spokesperson for Latamleaks and member of the International Baltasar Garzón Foundation, one of the partner organizations of this platform, explains the risks to which the alert persons are exposed:
"As one of the variables we have analyzed cases in Argentina, for example, the case of Raúl Eduardo Domínguez who was an employee of the Income Tax Office and who had given testimony of a plot of illicit enrichment and who during the process of declaration disappeared and was found dead a week later.
In Mexico, Julián Carrillo, an environmental defender, and indigenous leader, denounced plots of illegal land appropriations and opposed mining concessions that would have an environmental impact, and was also found dead. The goal is to protect people not only because of the risk but because the events themselves put the public interest at risk."
Galizzi also explains that anonymity is guaranteed through the Tor browser, a project that puts the privacy of Internet users first, using multiple servers to encrypt traffic every step of the way. The platforms that can be contacted are Subterráneo leaks in Nicaragua, Chileleaks, Peruleaks, Mexicoleaks, and Guatemalaleaks.
These platforms have collaborations with media and investigative journalists who handle information securely without compromising the integrity of both the person who has shared the information and those involved in it, explains Bruno Galizzi.
Bruno Galizzi also explains that the problem in Latin America is the culture of silence reinforced by the fear of risks:
"This is linked to the levels of risk to which people who report are exposed, so there is a tendency to hide or simply not say anything about the irregularities they encounter. That is why what Latamleaks proposes is to take up the agenda again at the regional level, knowing the power of the alerts, but also to protect human rights".
However, the organizations behind Latamleaks claim that technology is not enough to protect alerts and claim the need for an Information Protection Act in the region.
Article originally published in Radio France International under the title: Latamleaks: a project to denounce corruption and protect informants