We blow whistles to warn others of danger, and we shine lights so that others can see their way. The light was definitely shining last month in Berlin at a workshop put on by Transparency International. Couple the issues highlighted in the workshop with tightening data privacy regulations surrounding anonymous “whistleblowing,” and you have a challenging future for the reporting of non-compliance & unethical behaviour.
TI is a global movement organisation intent on raising the collective voices of the concerned and others who drive anti-corruption efforts, rather than silencing whistleblowers. The conclusion clearly drawn from the workshop is that whistleblowing at the international level must be addressed and protected if anti-bribery and anti-corruption efforts are to succeed.
Globally speaking, it’s an unfortunate reality that some governments and commercial operations look to undermine whistleblower and anti-corruption initiatives for their own gains and to protect their own interests. They do this by weakening whistleblower laws and reducing protections along with allowing retaliation to go on unabated. But like the participants of the gathering said, it’s time to get real. It’s time to fix the situation, not pull the covers up and over corruption and allow good people to be attacked for wanting to do good.
For a great wrap on the workshop, read the TI article “Whistling around the world” from Transparency International. Along with their stance, I would add that we can make anti-bribery/ anti-corruption efforts stronger and improve whistleblower protection and anti-retaliation measures by having good awareness and education programmes in place that promote the use of independent third-party reporting hotlines to increase trust and confidence. Plus, highlight your anti-retaliation policy to encourage reporting, and work with unions and work parties to implement those policies.
Because when you silence whistleblowers and keep them confined to a culture of fear… in the end, no one wins.