Announcement: Digital Whistleblowing Fund

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The Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights and the Renewable Freedom Foundation are inviting investigative journalism groups and human rights grassroots organisations in Europe to apply for the first round of the Digital Whistleblowing Fund – a small-grant project providing financial and technical support to start secure anti-corruption whistleblowing projects.

In order to be eligible for the Digital Whistleblowing Fund, your organisation needs to be part of or explicitly endorsed/referred by one of the following coalitions or networks:

  • Whistleblowing International Network (WIN)
  • Transparency International
  • Southeast Europe Coalition on Whistleblower Protection
  • International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

WIN is delighted to support the Digital Whistleblowing Fund and strongly encourages all of WIN’s European Network participants to have a look!

Deadline for first round applications: 31st December 2018

EU whistleblowers at risk unless changes made to draft directive!

flag-3370970_1920WIN is offering these Legal Briefs to all those interested in making whistleblowing work for Europe. They were developed with the expertise of Tom Devine, Legal Director of the Government Accountability Project in Washington DC, a co-founding member of WIN and Anna Myers, Executive Director of WIN.

They are based on 40 years of experience defending whistleblowers through the courts and in the public domain and advising governments around the world on the legislative reform needed to protect those who speak up in the interests of others.

Right now, the EU is going through the process of debating and amending a draft directive to protect whistleblowers across Europe. We want to help the policy makers and legislators to get it right!

Our Legal Briefs focus on the significant problem of mandatory internal reporting which renders the entire draft directive structurally unsound; the need to remove the mandatory penalties for malicious and abusive reporting, a potentially fatal flaw which will substitute worse retaliation with a greater chilling effect than current job-based harassment; the necessity to get right the legal burdens of proof to give whistleblowers a fighting chance to succeed in seeking justice; the importance of protecting those who initially who raise concerns anonymously, and the need to ensure available remedies are adequate to buffer whistleblowers from the damage of a sustained professional and personal campaign to discredit them. There are also some important elements missing in the draft directive such as a duty to prevent harm and the need to train judges on whistleblower laws.

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Update from Poland – Government draft law in limbo, citizen’s draft law in action

09/10/18WIN is pleased to provide an update from the Stefan Batory Foundation on the proposed whistleblowing law in Poland.

A year ago, a coalition of Polish NGOs – including the Stefan Batory Foundation, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Institute of Public Affairs and the Trade Union Forum – began working on a Citizen’s Draft Law on Whistleblowers’ Protection. They wanted to provide a strong model for whistleblowing legislation in Poland that met international best practice and against which any government proposals could be effectively measured. The current version of the Citizen’s Draft Law is available in English here.

The Citizen’s Draft Law proved its value almost immediately when, in late 2017, the Polish NGO coalition were able to present it as antidote to dangerous proposals on “whistleblowing” drafted by the Coordinator of the Special Services. The Special Services proposals were included in the Government’s draft law on transparency in public life. The Stefan Batory Foundation strongly criticised the proposals, as did WIN who sent a letter from international experts urging the Polish Government to reject the whistleblower protection provisions as not fit for purpose.

But work on a Citizen’s Draft Law on Whistleblowers’ Protection continued and, in April 2018, the Stefan Batory foundation and the NGO Coalition launched an independent public consultation. The launch was held at the first of two public meetings and so far the consultation has gathered over 100 comments which will be taken into account whilst the coalition prepares the final version of the Citizen’s Draft Law.

Anyone interested in effective whistleblower protection is encouraged to review the Citizen’s Draft Law on Whistleblowers’ Protection and submit their comments here!

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AFRICMIL running exciting whistleblower project in Nigeria

13/09/18WIN is pleased to highlight the work of the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) on the Corruption Anonymous (CORA) project in Nigeria.

elby75ngyhsd5qadvpeu_400x400 Nigeria’s civil society has long been active in working to promote better governance and accountability mechanisms to reduce waste, harm and corruption at all levels of government and society and increase the well-being of Nigerians. Civil society organisations saw the importance of whistleblowing and protecting whistleblowers as a key element in engaging citizens in strengthening and nurturing Nigerian democracy as far back as 2002.

The work of AFRICMIL and the CORA project is exciting, creative and important. It reinforces the work already done in Nigeria and WIN is delighted to highlight it here.

In December 2016, the Nigerian Federal Government announced a whistleblower policy offering financial incentives for citizens who blow the whistle on wrongdoing that leads to the recovery of looted public funds.

In the year since, as part of its accountability and good governance initiative, AFRICMIL has proactively engaged with whistleblower protection issues. In particular, it launched the CORA project which allows individuals to report corruption anonymously online. The project raises popular awareness of government whistleblowing policy and works towards its effective implementation whilst promoting the value of whistleblowing and advocating for stronger protections.
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Whistleblowing advocacy groups call on Dutch Government to reconsider award to outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Issued today 31 August 2018

We, the undersigned, join the Government Accountability Project in expressing our concern about the decision of the Dutch Government to award the 2018 Human Rights Tulip to outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, on 3 September 3 in The Hague. Our concerns are based on the responses to individual OHCHR whistleblowers who disclosed information about serious human rights violations, including the sexual abuse of children by French peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic. We urge the Minister to reconsider proceeding with the award until the UN High Commissioner resolves the outstanding cases of retaliation against the publicly vindicated whistleblowers in his own office.

Pištaljka (“The Whistle”), Serbia
Open Democracy and Advice Centre (ODAC), South Africa
Transparency International Netherlands, Netherlands
Riparte il futuro, Italy
Centre for Free Expression Whistleblowing Initiative, Canada
Transparency International Ireland, Ireland
The Ethicos Group, Australia
Speak Up, Speak Out Ltd., United Kingdom

See WIN letter to Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister including press release from the Government Accountability Project.