Report: 10 Countries Impede Whistleblowing


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Report: 10 countries impede whistle-blowing

Published: Dec. 3, 2009 at 11:50 AM

BERLIN, Dec. 3 (UPI) — Most of the 10 European Countries in a new Transparency International report lack adequate protections for whistle-blowers, the organization said Thursday.

Besides revealing inadequate protection for people who expose wrongdoing — sometimes at great personal expense — the report also identified ambivalent or negative attitudes towards those who report malfeasance in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia.

Negativity or indifference can deter whistle-blowers from coming forward, the report said.

“Inadequate protection will result in crime going unreported,” said Miklos Marschall, director for Europe and Central Asia at Transparency International, based in Berlin. “Whistle-blowers must be shielded from retaliation. There must also be effective mechanisms to investigate their allegations.”

The TI report showed that, except for Romania, none of the countries studied have stand-alone whistle-blower protection laws. However, Hungary and Lithuania are drafting legislation, the report said.

It also said the act of reporting could be superseded by other laws prohibiting the release of information, and libel and defamation regulations also deter people from stepping forward.

“Whistle-blowers face high personal risks, particularly when there is little legal recourse to save them from dismissal, humiliation and even physical abuse,” said Anja Osterhaus, TI program coordinator and report author. “When illegal or unethical behavior is reported, we all stand to gain. Companies, public bodies and non-profit organizations should introduce mechanisms to encourage internal reporting and provide a safe alternative to silence.”


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