Organisations cannot be held to account unless they are open to internal criticism, yet despite measures such as the Public Interest Disclosure Act, individuals within the UK’s institutions, public bodies and corporations are subject to severe gagging constraints. Whistleblowers are heavily penalised, both through mechanisms such as the Official Secrets Act and the Confidentiality Clauses built into employment agreements, and informally through loss of status and income, and social ostracism. How can they be protected, and encouraged to come forward despite the practical and psychological pressures that they face? Gavin MacFadyen discusses these problems with us. He is Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism and has researched, directed and produced investigative programmes in numerous countries around the world. He is currently Visiting Professor at City University, London, and a founder of the broad-support lobbying group, Whistleblowers UK which was launched in 2012.