United States Agency for Global Media

Fatima Hasanova

The Lead

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You get a tip from an anonymous source: The state-owned airline, which holds a monopoly in the country, has raised its ticket prices by 300 percent because the president has embezzled millions from the company.

Even confirming the tip is risky. The government spies on everyone and regularly sues journalists, even for stories they do not pursue. The government has also arrested three of your colleagues in the past year, all on trumped-up charges.

But you know this tip is too important to go unchecked.

The Investigation

You spend months investigating — digging through financial records, speaking with sources, and analyzing government budget. In addition to the suspicious financial activity you uncover, multiple sources confirm the embezzlement.

The Confrontation

As you begin to put together your report, you get an anonymous email containing compromising, personal videos taken from a hidden camera inside your bedroom. The email contains a threat to publish the videos online if you “take any further steps.”

The Decision

Your outlet is fully behind you and commits to funding your potential lawsuit against the government. However, if you publish the story, you know the government will expose your private life. You also know you may get arrested and jailed.

Do you choose to publish the story?