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Les lanceurs d’alerte

Etude comparée France-Etats-Unis
Jean-Philippe Foegle


The whistle-blower is defined by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 1729 (2010),§1) as “a concerned individual who sound an alarm in order to stop wrongdoings that place fellow human beings at risk”.The present study, which compares the legal framework for whistleblowing in the United States and France, aims at better understading key issues concerning the notion of « whistleblowing ». The first outlined characteristic of the notion is its duality. According to a dominant vision, a « whistleblower » could be basically described as a denunciator of risks and unethical behaviors, and could only benefit from protection as long as its action contributes to some specific law-enforcement policies. But there is also another view of the concept, which is based on a broad understanding of the right to free speech. In this case, any concerned citizen could be described as a “whistleblower”, including people -like “Ed” Snowden- who consciously disobey to the law when they blow the whistle. This uncertainty on the even meaning of “whistleblowing” is coupled with an uncertainty on the scope of protection which is granted to the whistleblowers. Indeed, those protections are largely ineffective in both the United States and France, though for different reasons. In any case, the very phenomenon of whistleblowing is at the heart of a tension between the common good on the one hand, and state secrets in the other hand.

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Electronic reference

Jean-Philippe Foegle, Les lanceurs d’alerteLa Revue des droits de l’homme [Online], 6 | 2014, Online since 29 November 2014, connection on 02 December 2021. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Jean-Philippe Foegle

Jean-Philippe Foegle est doctorant contractuel en droit public à l’Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. Il réalise une thèse sur la protection des lanceurs d'alerte en droit international et comparé sous la direction de Véronique Champeil-Desplats, au sein du Centre de recherches et d’études sur les droits fondamentaux (CREDOF).

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