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…

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…

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