TORONTO, Canada (AFP) – Patriot, dissident or traitor? A new film by anti-establishment director Oliver Stone starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asks audiences to weigh in.
The espionage thriller biopic about the largest data leak in US history, which ignited a firestorm over mass surveillance, premiered late Friday at the Toronto film festival.
“Hopefully (the film) will work towards a number of efforts to try and rehabilitate him,” WikiLeaks representative Sarah Harrison told AFP ahead of the film’s red carpet in Toronto.
“What will help Snowden’s situation and potential other whistleblowers as well is getting more public awareness of the retaliation that’s used against people that do these sorts of things,” explained Harrison, who is director of the Courage Foundation, which supports Snowden and other whistleblowers.
She opined that whistleblower protections in the United States are too weak, but that “public awareness is improving and that’s always a first step.”
“These sorts of actions should be protected in some way or at least be allowed a defense.”
Snowden’s residency permit in Russia, where he was granted political asylum after fleeing the United States, runs out next year.
“Then the question comes up again of where he can be safe. Obviously he’d love to go back home,” Harrison said.