SOMO joined Publeaks at the end of November 2014. Publeaks is an online system that enables national and local media organisations to address social wrongs in a secure and anonymous environment. Relevant material is uploaded anonymously and forwarded in a technically irreducible manner to journalists and researchers. Media organisations that want to know more before they continue their research can contact the whistleblower anonymously and from there determine whether they want to pursue their research or their publications further. SOMO hopes that whistleblowers with important information will come forward via Publeaks in order to further enrich its research.

When it comes to sensitive and controversial information, it is very important for organisations and individuals to know that they can safely and anonymously leak their information. SOMO receives confidential documents from people who wish to remain anonymous with some regularity, but before today, SOMO did not have the capacity to offer maximum protection for these sources. Publeaks (Dutch only), with its advanced technology, optimal protection of sources and excellent information regarding the risks, is a useful tool for the safe and responsible leaking of inside information to SOMO and leading media organisations.

All the media members of Publeaks endorse the “Code of Bordeaux”, a journalistic code that is in line with SOMO’s own research code of conduct. Information is handled in a fair manner and accusations are not published without substantiation. Moreover, in-depth research into multiple sources is crucial for Publeaks and any allegations are investigated from all sides.

SOMO hopes that its Publeaks membership will mean that people can expose sensitive information about social injustices in a secure manner. For example, inside information about production chains and links could potentially aid SOMO in its efforts to link human rights violations to specific factories and the brands that source from these factories. Inside information provided by anonymous parties can help in the filing of complaints with government authorities or stimulate public debate on the issue of trade and investment agreements. Moreover, it helps researchers and journalists do their job better, which is an important condition for the stimulation and maintenance of democratic developments.