This month, two of WIN’s co-founding member organisations hit major milestones. The Government Accountability Project (GAP) in Washington DC held a gala on 15th November to celebrate 40 years of pioneering work defending whistleblowers through the courts, the media and in the public domain. At a reception in the House of Commons on the 14th November, Protect (formerly Public Concern at Work) celebrated 25 years’ running a free legal advice to whistleblowers and working hard to create safer and more responsive workplaces throughout the UK.
It is fantastic that these organisations are continuing to work hard to make whistleblowing work in the public interest. In fact, like so many small but mighty NGOs, they are so busy they rarely have the time to explain clearly the importance of the work they do. This is something that WIN aims to change.
As part of this effort, WIN is delighted to share this short film made by Protect for its 25th anniversary, explaining what they do and providing an insight into their challenging but essential work with whistleblowers. While every organisation working in the whistleblower protection field is unique, Protect’s mission is shared by many of those participating in WIN – to ensure whistleblowers are safe to speak up, their messages are heeded and the public interest is protected.
There are also very valid reasons to explain why the work of organisations like Protect and GAP really is behind the scenes. The legal advice they provide to whistleblowers is confidential and offered within a lawyer-client relationship. Most cases are not public, and when they do make it into the media the focus is, quite rightly, on the whistleblower and the issue rather than the legal or practical support behind them.
These organisations would be the first to say that they are not the story. They are right. The only problem is that the power of their work remains hidden and therefore a continuing challenge to fund.
WIN member and associate organisations in Europe are welcome to apply to the Digital Whistleblowing Fund. There are small grants available to enhance organisational use of secure to work with whistleblowers safely.
Working with whistleblowers protects the public interest and improves the societies – national and global – in which we all live. It is vital that individuals who bring their concerns to the attention of those who can do something about it do not bear the risk of challenging power alone.
Building the capacity of non-profit organisations to work effectively and responsibly with whistleblowers and together is what WIN was set up to do. Showcasing the work of the whistleblower protection community is in our mandate – in doing so we aim to highlight why these organisations need support and resources to continue their vital work.