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…

More than 81,000 citizens call on the European Commission to protect whistleblowers

On 14 November 2017, representatives from the European Federation of Journalists, Eurocadres, the European Public Service Union (EPSU), Transparency International and WeMove.eu met with Tiina Astola, the Director General of DG Justice. They handed over the 81,000 signatures and the list of 80 organisations participating in the WhistleblowerProtection.eu platform. The platform and the petition were initiated by Eurocadres in October 2016 with the aim to push the European institutions to protect whistleblowers at the European level with a directive. During the meeting, the group highlighted the recent good news in the work for EU-wide whistleblower protection: The Parliament adopted, with a large majority, a…

Denmark: draft bill on trade secrets fails to protect journalists and their sources

The Danish Union of Journalists (DJ) criticised in a letter sent to the Danish Patent and Trademark Office on 3 November 2017, the draft bill on trade secrets which is being discussed in Denmark in order to comply with the directive 2016/943/EU ‘on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure’, adopted by the European Parliament and Council on 8 June 2016. The Danish Union considers that the bill in its present form does not contain the necessary protection for journalists and whistleblowers in cases of trade secrets’ disclosure serving the public interest.…

The European Parliament urges the Commission to protect whistleblowers

With the adoption of Virginie Rozière‘s report today (24.10.2017) in plenary session in Strasbourg, the European Parliament is sending a strong signal to the European Commission, demanding an EU-wide legislation protecting whistleblowers across the 27 Member States. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) warmly thanks the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) who voted in favour of a full protection for whistleblowers. A total of 666 MEPs took part in the vote: 399 (60%) voted in favour of the report, 101 (15%) voted against and 166 (25%) abstained from voting. Proposed by Virginie Rozière (S&D), the report demands an EU-wide protection…

EFJ and EBU call on the European Parliament to adopt report on whistleblowers

The European Parliament has an opportunity to make a crucial statement tomorrow (24.10) on the protection of whistleblowers. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) urge Members of the European Parliament to make this a reality and adopt the report on “legitimate measures to protect whistleblowers acting in the public interest”. Both organizations have welcomed Virginie Rozière’s own-initiative report on the protection of whistleblowers. It recognizes the close link between investigative journalism, whistleblowers and their key contribution to informing the public, and stresses the importance of protecting the confidentiality of journalistic sources. The report also…

#ECPMF conference e-book: how to improve freedom of expression

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) issued an e-book with proceedings and conclusions of their recent conference, organised on 24 March in Strasbourg. Carried out with the support of the Council of the Europe (CoE), the event promoted the dialogue between the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and media freedom groups, especially on the ECtHR’s recent case law relating to freedom of expression, media and journalism. The speakers at the conference presented their views on three main themes, now summed up in the e-book: defamation, privacy and the processing of personal data; investigative journalism in relation…

The Council of Europe recommends its member states to recognise ‘a right to whistleblowing’

In a resolution, followed by a recommendation adopted on 27 June 2017, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly encourages the Member States to provide “adequate protection to whistleblowers” in order to better fight corruption. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes this resolution which recognises investigative journalism as a “public asset” and push for more recognition and support to ensure the public’s widest possible access to information. “We are glad to see that the EFJ views on the issue were heard. The voting result are impressive: it was almost unanimously voted as only one participant abstained and one voted against,…

A European directive protecting whistleblowers will be presented in the coming months promised Juncker

On May 30, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker promised that a European directive protecting whistleblowers will be presented “in the coming months”, during an hearing with MEPs of the Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA). This declaration is another important step towards a protection of whistleblowers at the European level. Earlier this year, the European Commission had launched a public consultation aiming to collect information on the benefits and drawbacks of a sectorial and horizontal protection for people shading light on wrongdoings. “The European Federation of Journalists welcomed the European Commission’s public consultation. Whistleblowers became a hot topic following…

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