Workshop 2.6

Workshop 2.6 Protecting the Whistleblowers - Asian and European Perspectives  

Stream 4 Sustainable Globalisation

Coordinator: Peter Ryan, Director for Intellectual Exchange, Asia-Europe Foundation
Date: Friday 11:00 to 13:00
Location: Conference 1

One of the most important issues affecting transitional countries in Asia and Europe alike is good governance. Integrity and ethical conduct are major components to implement good governance in both the public and private sectors. However, for action against corruption to be successful, the involvement of the community and non-governmental actors is crucial.

Sound legal and ethical frameworks, on one hand, are needed to ensure accountability; on the other hand the role of civil society has to be strengthened and citizens need to be encouraged to report on any form of malfeasance. Debates in parliaments over legal protection for whistleblowers are growing across Asia and Europe.

To prevent these so-called whistleblowers from being victimised, protection needs to be guaranteed and a culture of transparency and accountability has to be promoted. Whistleblowing refers to the disclosure by a person, in a government agency or private enterprise; to the public or to those in authority, of mismanagement, corruption, illegality, or some other wrongdoing.

Citizens who do report significant misconduct are usually put in some form of danger or persecution. Persecution of whistleblowers has become a serious issue, particularly in countries undergoing political transition in Asia and Europe. Legal protection for whistleblowing varies from country to country.

In many countries, legal protection for whistleblowers still does not exist or access to it is limited; in authoritarian regimes there is usually no motivation from the government to provide such protection. The debate however is opening now in countries undergoing political transition.

Further, when examining possible legislation concerning whistleblowers, should recommended laws apply to both the public sector and the private sector? Should governments and parliaments extend the same legal protection for whistleblowers in the public sector to those that expose corporate crime? Or is it up to the private sector itself to take action?


Moderator: Sriprapha Petcharamesree, Director, Office for Human Rights and Social Development, Mahidol University Thailand
Rapporteur: Proel Fernhout, Professor of Law, University of Nijmegen The Netherlands, Former National Ombudsman of the Netherlands

Panellists:
Sriprapha Petcharamesree,
Director, Office for Human Rights and Social Development, Mahidol University Thailand

Roel Fernhout, Professor of Law, University of Nijmegen The Netherlands, Former National Ombudsman of the Netherlands

Ian Harden, Secretary-General, European Ombudsman's Office

In-Jae Park, Vice President and Acting Secretary General, Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission Korea

Mircea Toma, Director, Media Monitoring Agency Romania

Melinda Quintos de Jesus, Executive Director, Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility, Philippines

Christophe Speckbacher, Head of Section, Secretariat of GRECO, Council of Europe