January 13, 2015

afriLeaks: A new whistleblowing platform for African media

afriLeaks, a joint project of the African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting and the Hermes Centre for Transparency and Digital Human Rights launched today.

AfriLeaks will give people a chance to leak sensitive information anonymously. The site’s founders say it is an attempt to boost investigative journalism to expose widespread corruption and human rights abuses. It will also help circumvent growing surveillance by governments and corporate firms.

The afriLeaks site will work as a “bridge” whistleblowers can cross to reach out to media and journalists, who will be asked to do the verification work and analysis. Unlike WikiLeaks, afriLeaks itself will not publish material, it will only connect sources to interested and trusted journalists: “AfriLeaks differs from Wikileaks in that the latter discloses confidential information to the public,” explains Khadija Sharife,“this has its own important role and we have seen the powerful impact from it. AfriLeaks is a logical investigative tool that provides a secure vehicle between sources and media in the public interest, but not directly to the public. We champion WikiLeaks but play a different role.”

AfriLeaks will also teach journalists across Africa investigative skills, as reportedly many have little understanding of dangers that they could face when investigating leaks. There have been cases when people who released secret and/or sensitive information have subsequently “vanished”.