by Hilary Abrahamson
Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agent who leaked NSA information to the British and US press, has been named one of the three finalist’s for the European Union’s top human rights prize.
The party backing Snowden’s nomination said the former American agent, who has been granted asylum in Russia, deserves the prize because he “risked his freedom to protect ours.” The information Snowden leaked revealed that the American government spies on citizens for no apparent reason.
Photo by Mike Herbst
On the tails of Snowden’s nomination for the prize, he spoke out via a message relayed during a European Parliament meeting held on Monday.
A letter written by Edward Snowden and read by human rights activist Jesselyn Radack asked the European Union to grant protection to whistleblowers.
After Snowden leaked information about the NSA spying on American citizens, he fled the country to avoid prosecution. Snowden says charging whistleblowers with treason prevents important discussions and keeps secrets from the public.
“Public debate is not possible without public knowledge,” Snowden stated. “And in my country, the cost for…returning public knowledge to public hands has been persecution and exile. If we are to enjoy such debates in the future, we cannot rely upon individual sacrifice.”
American media has questioned whether Snowden is a villain or a hero at length. The same outlets that enjoyed the privilege of publishing leaked information from Snowden have also published articles questioning whether what he did was good for our government.
What do you think about Snowden’s request? As future journalists, we may rely on the secretive information from whistleblowers, but what should that mean for them? Do citizens have the right to this kind of information, and should the people who provide it be protected?