#Speak-out: We just launched a campaign for the protection of whistleblowers in Greece

Reporters United, along with Transparency International Greece, Vouliwatch and 16 other organisations sent a letter to the Greek Prime Minister urging a strong implementation of the EU Whistleblower Directive.

13 November 2020
13 November 2020

In a joint initiative organised by Transparency International Greece, Vouliwatch and Reporters United, we call on the Greek government to put in place a strong, comprehensive, progressive and up-to-date institutional framework for the protection of whistleblowers. 

Recognising the dangers posed by the absence of a robust legal framework for the protection of the public interest, the European Union adopted Directive 2019/1937 for the protection of persons who report violations of EU law (whistleblowers).

The Directive contains a series of basic principals, based on which Greece must design an effective national whistleblower protection scheme by the end of December 2021. The EU Directive offers a first-class opportunity to upgrade the relevant Greek legislation. It is also an important step in the fight against corruption, which prevents the full implementation of a human rights regime in Greece and stands in the way of national prosperity. 

The creation of a strong legal framework concerns us all. The time has come for the state and civil society to have an open and frank discussion and work together to build a robust regime for the protection of workers – and those bound by confidentiality – who chose to speak out against corruption, human rights violations, and other matters in the public interest. 

Letter to the Prime Minister

On 11 November we sent a letter to the government and the Ministry of Justice, in which we urged them to “open up” the legislative process so that we can work together on drafting the legislation for the effective and up-to-date protection of whistleblowers in Greece. 

Whistleblowing has proved a powerful tool in the prevention and prosecution of actions which undermine the public interest. Public authorities, institutions and private bodies all have a duty to protect those who promptly report law-breaking, strengthening the transparency and accountability of government and the political-economic system. At the same time, whistleblowers must be encouraged to speak to the media, if no other channels are trusted. 

How many illegal practices could have been prevented if workers were encouraged to speak out?

Studies show that 6 in 10 European citizens feel that it is their duty to report violations but are afraid to do so and feel they lack protection (Global Corruption Barometer). In order to encourage them to file reports – and feel safe doing so – it is vital that we create a robust legal framework, which will both protect them against reprisals by their employer (dismissal, unfair treatment, threats to life etc.), and provide them with financial support.   

The transposition of the Directive offers Greece a superb opportunity to innovate by creating an effective framework for whistleblower protection, while leading the fight against corruption at a European level. 

In September 2020, Transparency International Greece published a position paper on “the effective transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Directive”.

The letter to the Prime Minister can be found below:

The letter has been so far signed by the following organisations:

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