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Making whistleblowing work for Europe

12 February 2019
The EU is poised to adopt a new directive to protect whistleblowers across Europe. This could have a dramatic impact on the capacity and ability of whistleblowing to work in all our interests. We know that protecting those who speak up in the public interest saves lives, protects our environment, reveals and stops corruption, and stems the huge financial losses to business and governments that result from failures to address wrongdoing.

 

However, by making it mandatory to report to the employer first, the proposed directive unwittingly includes information control systems that will both hamper internal good management and make illegal certain responsible disclosures to competent authorities.

If this mandatory internal disclosure regime stands, the directive will have abandoned responsible Europeans who raise concerns appropriately to their employers through their supervisors or normal management channels of communication, who disclose information to competent authorities who have the power and mandate to address wrongdoing, or who provide information to the journalists who investigate and report in the public interest. They will suffer. Europe will suffer.

We remind the EU institutions, in trialogue negotiations right now, that their promise to better protect whistleblowers across Europe they have a moral and legal responsibility to adopt a directive that builds on the Council of Europe Recommendation and international best practice consensus that protects the voluntary choice of channels for those who disclose wrongdoing.

This is why 75 signing organisations, including PSI, have come together to urge the EU Council to do the right thing - and adopt the Parliament’s position on the reporting channels.

Protecting disclosures made outside the employment relationship is at the heart of providing real whistleblower protection:

  • It allows law enforcement and regulatory bodies to do their jobs properly;
  • It is the vital safety net for protecting the public interest and the public’s right to know when organisations are corrupt or fail to take responsibility;
  • It ensures employers take seriously their responsibility to make it safe and acceptable to report internally; and
  • There is no evidence this undermines internal channels as the genuine first port of call for individuals
  • It protects freedom of expression;

As it stands, we are very concerned that the EU is about to agree a directive that will dangerously reinforce the status quo and make it even harder for individuals to report breaches of law and wrongdoing.

Read the open letter on whistleblowerprotection.eu

More about whistleblowers' protection 

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