Resources

You will find here a range of resources (laws, articles, studies, and other publications and links) on whistleblowing law and practice. We have curated these resources to help you navigate the myriad of ways in which whistleblowing acts as a democratic accountability mechanism and as a check on secrecy and abuse of power in many different contexts.  

If you know of a resource that you think should be added to our Resources library, then please contact us.
  • Case of Guja v Moldova

    Guja v Moldova, App no 14277/04 (ECtHR,12 February 2008)

    An important case heard in the European Court of Human Rights which confirms that disclosing information of public interest during workplace whistleblowing can be an assertion of the Right to Freedom of Expression. In this case, the claimant being dismissed for disclosing evidence to the media was a breach of his right to disclose information to a third party under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. 

    The judgement is offically available in in French. Other translations can be found here.

  • Case of Tillack v Belguim

    Tillack v Belguim App no 20477/05 (ECtHR, 27 November 2007)

    This European Court of Human Rights judgement highlights the right not to reveal sources as protected and enforcable right, intergal to the human right to expression and information. The case strengthens journalistic source privilege and therefore whistleblowing protections. The claimant, a journalist reporting financial fraud, was arrested and had materials seized during property raids. This was held a breach of his rights under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights as such action was not necessary in a democratic society, regardless of the conduct of sources (uncorroborated rumours of bribery). 

    The claimant was supported by the European Federation of Journalists.

  • Embracing Digitalisation: How to use ICT to strengthen Anti-Corruption

    Embracing Digitalisation: How to use ICT to strengthen Anti-Corruption - a joint publication commisioned by the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Programme on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (2008)

    Section 4.3 of this publication on leveraging technological developments for anti-corruption provides an overview of whistleblowing platforms including an analysis of the challenges of anonymous reporting and a case study on the Kenyan experience of using a BKMS software based system.

  • European Union Directive on Whistleblower Protection

    DIRECTIVE (EU) 2019 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law

    The EU Directive on whistleblower protection is considered the most ambitious whistleblowing protection legal reform project in the world. Its adoption exemplifies the success of impressive civil society cross-border collaboration and campaigning. It has far reaching impact on expanding and levelling the scope of the protections across 27 member states of the European Union. 

    Each member state must now transpose its provisions into national law to meet its minimum standards. Significant wide-scope national legislation will be required to protect whistleblowers, third parties and facilitators. It also introduces mandatory requirements on handling whistleblowing internally in both public bodies and private businesses.

    It is available in the 24 official languages of the EU here. 

  • Irish National Whistleblowing Protection Law

    The Protected Disclosure Act 2014 No.14 of 2014 

    Considered the strongest national whistleblowing legislation in Europe. The PDA was passed in the Republic Ireland in 2014. Its provisions surpassed the previous leading law - the Public Interest Disclosure Act in the UK - with significant protections. It expanded the scope of wrongdoings to including misuse of public funds and introducing third party protections - section 13 provides for an action in ‘tort’ (civil law) for others who suffer detrimental treatment such as family members. There is no requirement for the whistleblower to be acting in good faith, but the law was later amended to include a public interest test when disclosing trade secrets.

    A staturory review of the legislation was undertaken in 2018  can be found here.

  • Open Government Guide

    The Transparency & Accountablity Initiative's Open Government Guide 

    This 442 page interactive guide sets out practical and actionable recommendations to advance transparency, accountability and participation in government. Each topic is authored by a leading expert organisation in that field, including a chapter on whistleblowing protections contributed by WIN (see page 73.) 

    Its ‘illustrative commitments’ are phased from taking initial steps (review whistleblowing laws) to undertaking more advanced innovation (establish a public fund to support whistleblowers) and accompanied by comprehensive outlines of the relevant standards, guidance, and tools available.

    It is also availabe in Spanish.

  • UN Report on the Protection of Whistleblowers and Sources

    Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the UN General Assembly addressing the protection of whistleblowers and sources (2015).

    This report of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye, addresses the protection of sources of information and whistle-blowers. It reviews national and international law, practice and norms, highlighting the central importance of whistleblowers disclosing information to the public to give right to that information and public participation in political affairs.

    It makes several highly persuasive recommendations including the adoption and revision of national legal frameworks protecting whistleblowers and the establishment of personal liability for those who retaliate against sources and whistleblowers. Essential reading for any advocate looking to leverage human rights to advance whistleblowing protections.

    It is available in French, Russian and Spanish.

  • The Tshwane Principles

    The Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information (Tshwane Principles)

    These 50 principles provide highly persuasive standards relevant to balancing the public’s right to information with a state's needs around keeping some information secret for legitimate national security purposes. The principles include guidance on the punishment of whistleblowers who disclosure classified information of high public interest. 

    Drafted by 17 organisations, 5 academic centres in consultation of 50 experts from more than 70 countries, they are a shining example of the effectiveness of cross-border civil society cooperation.

    It is available in ArabicJapaneseSpanish, German, French, and Portuguese.

     

  • UNODC Resource Guide on Good Practices in the Protection of Reporting Persons

    This comprehensive guide outlines the critical importance of whistleblowing protections in tackling corruption globally.

    It sets out the keys elements of ‘good practices’ in whistleblowing protections - from revising national legal frameworks and institutional arrangements to the provision of individual help and advice and cross-country cooperation.

    Available in French, Spanish, English and Arabic.
     

  • UNESCO Briefing - Protecting Journalism Sources in the Digital Age

    Part of UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom, this research report analyses international regulatory norms and regional instruments of human rights, highlighting the synergies between journalist source protections and whistleblowing. 

    It charts the trend of derogation of such rights in the digital era – from mass-surveillance to anti-terrorism - setting out an 11-point assessment tool for measuring effectiveness of legal source protections. It also provides a model universal framework which is useful to advocate for protections at a national level - Principle 11 explicity recognises that complementary whistleblowing legislation strengthens source protection laws.
     

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