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Thursday, September 3 • 11:00 - 13:00
Six changes to improve whistleblowing overnight

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This panel will examine the state of whistleblower protections for government workers around the world and the vulnerabilities of the journalists on whom they rely to give voice to their disclosures. The speakers will identify processes that seem effective, as well as those that do not appear to work so well. The panel will present a series of recommendations for strengthening the protections provided to public sector employees in different settings and describe how they might best be implemented.

We recognize that whistleblowers in different sectors – defence, intelligence, finance, health care, transportation, etc. – require different protection measures, but we believe that certain safeguards are fundamental. A whistleblower must have access to an independent adjudicative forum in which to bring a claim of reprisal and access to a free press that gives voice to the whistleblower's disclosure.

As governments around the world privatized and outsourced functions once performed by the public sector, public expenditures became more difficult to monitor. At the same time, globalization increased the geographic reach of much economic activity, so that criminal conduct now frequently transcends national borders. As privatization spread in sector after sector the public interest at the international level came to be represented and defended only by whistleblowers and journalists. Protections for both, however, are often confined to national settings and are inadequate as shields from reprisal.

In brief, illegality, corruption and fraud can be obscured by moving the actions behind the shield of proprietary information, moving the proceeds offshore, or both. The public therefore depends on whistleblowers for information about misconduct and fraud, but transnational measures must be established to protect them and to disseminate the news of their disclosures.

In essence, international measures to restrain corruption (the transformation of public resources into private wealth) are often weak, and information about international fraud is difficult to access. Whistleblowers and journalists have thus become important instruments of accountability, but new mechanisms are needed to protect them in transnational settings.

We expect to speak to investigators who operate at an international level, especially those who work for international organizations and ethics officers at multinational corporations. We also hope to reach investigative journalists and representatives of civil society organizations.


Aicha El Basri

Former spokesperson for UNAMID peacekeeping troops, Government Accountability Project
avatar for A J Brown

A J Brown

International Board Member / Professor, Transparency International / Griffith University
Public integrity, anti-corruption, whistleblowing, integrity systems, separation of powers, horizontal accountability. For my day job I lead public integrity, anti-corruption and other research for Griffith University, Australia; and in my spare time, am a boardmember of Transparency... Read More →
avatar for Martin Woods

Martin Woods

Head of Financial Crime, Thomson Reuters
I am the man who blew the whistle on the drug money laundering conduct of Wachovia Bank. Why did I do it? Because it was the right thing to do and the money is directly connected to the murder of tens of thousands of people. Money is the lifeblood of crime, the banks can take action... Read More →

Session Coordinators
avatar for Beatrice Edwards

Beatrice Edwards

International Program Director, Former Executive Director, Government Accountability Project

Thursday September 3, 2015 11:00 - 13:00 GMT+08
Hall 5

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