Whistleblowing directive: EFJ regrets that protection for public disclosure is subject to restrictive conditions

On Monday 11 March, the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council of the European Union reached a political agreement on the protection of whistleblowers against reprisals. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the significant improvements compared to the directive proposal, but regrets the intent of limiting protection for those reporting to the public, in particular through the media. From the very beginning the issue of the reporting channels has been the main point of discord during the negotiations. What procedure whistleblowers should follow to be granted protection? The European institutions came to a decision on Monday evening. Whistleblowers…

UN and OSCE media freedom watchdogs raised concerns over the EU whistleblowing directive

In a letter sent on 5 March to the European institutions, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and the protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, raised concerns about three aspects of the draft directive on the protection of whistleblowers. This letter is published as the negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission are in the final stretch. The last trilogue meeting will be on Monday 11 March. The tiered reporting system This is the main…

European whistleblowers call for a better directive

In an open letter to the European Council, Commission and Parliament, five well-known European whistleblowers speak out for changing the directive and removing barriers for safe reporting. This letter is published as the negotiations between the European institutions are entering the final stretch. The European Council, Commission and Parliament have started the trilogue phase since the end of January and one main point of discord remains: what procedure whistleblowers should follow to be granted protection against retaliation? The draft directive indicates three reporting channels: internal within the company, external to an authority, and public including through the press. In the…

Open letter: Making whistleblowing work for Europe

The EU is poised to take a momentous step and 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. It is vital that an EU Directive on the protection of whistleblowers protects the free flow of information necessary for responsible exercises of institutional…

Whistleblowers: EU Council wants to limit reporting to authorities and media

The Council of the European Union adopted on Friday 25 January its general approach on the protection of whistleblowers. The trilogue between the three European institutions has started with the aim to find a compromise before the next European elections. The political agreement between the 28 Member States determines under what conditions whistleblowers can report breaches of EU law to be granted protection against retaliation. It foresees that a whistleblower must, as a rule, first make a report inside his/her company. Reporting to the media directly would only be allowed in three cases: no action was taken following a report within…

Risks for media pluralism and safety of journalists are increasing across Europe

The Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM) has examined 28 European Union Member States as well as three candidate countries: Turkey, Serbia and Macedonia. The results of this second EU-wide implementation of the MPM show either general stagnation or deterioration in all of the major areas encompassed by the MPM and confirm that no country analysed is free from risks to media pluralism. The Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF), based in Florence, has just published its 2017 Media Pluralism Monitor reports (#MPM2017). Year 2017 was marked by events that have had a significant impact on media freedom and media…

Open letter to European Institutions: public reporting must be a safe option for whistleblowers

On behalf of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union), EFJ (the European Federation of Journalists), EMMA (European Magazine Media Association), ENPA (the European Newspaper Association) and NME (News Media Europe), we would like to strongly encourage the Members of the European Parliament and the Council representatives to ensure that the proposed directive on the protection of whistleblowers, which is currently being negotiated in both institutions, guarantees a robust protection for persons choosing to turn to the media to report unlawful or wrongful acts. The draft directive, as proposed by the European Commission in April 2018, falls short when it comes to…

Kosovo: Advanced draft law to protect whistleblowers adopted

While the European Union is currently discussing the details to better protect whistleblowers at the EU level, Kosovo steps out introducing one of the most advanced laws in Europe to protect whistleblowers. Government of Kosovo has passed the draft law to the General Assembly for adoption on 14 June this year. The General Assembly will be voting on adoption in autumn this year. Being one of the top countries in struggle against corruption, as reported by the Freedom House, the aim of this legislation is to safeguard the possibility to inform and report wrongdoings inside the companies while ensuring the possibility to…

Whistleblower directive: the European Commission takes “an important step” but improvement on public reporting yet to be made

On 23 April, the European Commission issued a proposal for a directive on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law. This is an important step in acknowledging the crucial importance of the protection of whistleblowers against intimidation and retaliation in European democracies. The proposed directive emphasises the important role of whistleblowers as journalistic sources for investigative journalism, allowing the industry to fulfil its ‘watchdog’ role. It also acknowledges that sufficient whistleblower protection is needed to ensure the freedom of expression as well as the public’s right to access information and media freedom. This is indeed crucial as…

The EU is finalising the directive for protecting whistleblowers

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes European commissioner Jourová’s recent announcement on preparing a horizontal legislation on whistleblower protection. Speaking of the recent killing of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak in Slovakia, Vera Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equity, said on 5th March, in EU LIBE Committee, that she considers the rule of law as one of the things that really matter. If Kuciak’s case is not dealt with satisfactorily, she said, then it would provide additional support for the establishment by 2020 of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), which could try cases such as financial crime,…

Eurobarometer survey shows whistleblowing is seen as difficult and dangerous

The latest Special Eurobarometer on Corruption, published on 19 December 2017, shows a widespread perception that whistleblowers across Europe face a difficult and dangerous situation. This collection of surveys across 28 European Union member states, conducted by the European Commission, focuses on corruption, giving a clear overview of the state of corruption in Europe. According to the results, more than two thirds (68%) of Europeans think that corruption is widespread in their country. This number has fallen by 8% since 2013, however the majority of Europeans (73%) still believe that there is corruption in national public institutions, and that the…

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