The Courage Foundation is an international organisation that supports those who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record. We fundraise for the legal and public defence of specific individuals who fit these criteria and are subject to serious prosecution or persecution. We also campaign for the protection of truthtellers and the public’s right to know generally.
The public’s right to know
When powerful institutions retreat into secrecy, they prevent proper accountability and oversight. Whistleblowers become the public’s regulators of last resort. Without them, we would know far less about international diplomacy, offshore banking or the excesses of the War on Terror.
Because whistleblowers are a vital link in the chain, they are also vulnerable. Courage upholds the principle of public access by aiding the whistleblowers who make it possible, forcing their cases into the public sphere and funding effective defences in the courtroom.
Freedom of the press
Journalists and publishers increasingly find themselves subject to the same types of reprisal as the whistleblowers they work with. Threats against those who seek out and publish sensitive information are also threats against the press’s most essential function: providing a check on the powerful in the service of the powerless.
By protecting whistleblowers, we can engender a culture of support for radical transparency, adversarial journalism and democratic accountability. Courage recognises courage by fighting for those who stand up to power and expose the truth.
Whistleblowers around the world face a range of negative consequences, from alienation and dismissal to state prosecution and abusive prison conditions. Conscientious objectors who expose rampant or heinous human rights violations have themselves been deprived of their basic rights, such as the expectation of humane treatment or a fair and speedy trial.
Courage prepares legal defence funds to defend whistleblowers in court and campaigns for their freedom and protection. By publicising any punitive measures imposed on truthtellers and ensuring their plight is not ignored in the press, Courage can prevent the next whistleblower from becoming the next political prisoner.