What about the status of a whistleblower?
In the news we hear regularly about “Whistleblowers” who report bad secrets. That is because there are enough bad secrets present in the world. Everywhere and in every country. A wistleblower is a worker who brings bad secrets in his company or organization to the outside, it may or may not be anonymous, but can also be someone who act within the illegally acting’s organization or someone from outside, who is interested in a business or organization and knows about bad secrets and reports them, whether or not anonymous.
However, a big difference is the extent of the bad secret. For example, Julian Assange, Mordechai Vanunu and Edward Snowden leaked bad secrets in politics, in which the national security of a country was at stake. That is of a different caliber than the building fraud in Netherlands.
What is striking is that whistleblowers are not really rewarded for their honesty. Actually not at all. A study of the Union FNV was held in the year 2000 and it was found out that of the 119 whistleblowers who are employees in the public and private sectors that were questioned, 37% felt threatened and bullied, 35% became ill, 8% was supended and 40% got eventually dismissal.
To what extent are wistleblowers protected?
The Advicepoint Whistleblowers is launched in Netherlands on 1 October 2012. The Advicepoint is an independent body, which supports and gives advice to (potential) whistleblowers that work for a company or for the Government. In 2000, the European Parliament adopted a whistleblowers act. It was arranged that a whistleblower is allowed to play his file to the President of one of the European institutions.
In 2003 a change in the law of the Netherlands was proposed, which include the protection of whistleblowers in the civil code. One of the main arguments in the Bill was the freedom of expression. In the act are also adopted a code of conduct for whistleblowers.
The Organization “Netherlands transparent” has indicated that the rules protecting whistleblowers in the Netherlands till this day actually do not work and only create a false protection for whistleblowers. Netherlands Transparent attempts the politics to improve considerably the protection of whistleblowers so at the end there will be an active protection for whistleblowers.
The word wistleblower has to do with making people alert and aware of danger. However, about the word “whistleblower” there is a negative charge, while the person is often an integer person, who initially participated the criticized practices, then got regret and brings the bad secretst out open to the public.
Why the negative charge?
Whistleblowing is about reporting a bad secret in our society. Is that so bad or is it actually a good thing if you want to report bad secrets? If you, as an employee of a chemical factory, know that safety procedures are not in order, wouldn’t we want to know about this dangerous situation anyway? By reporting this bad secret a major disaster can be prevented. We all benefit by reporting this bad secret.
In my opinion we should be investigating whether there are limits in reporting abuses or not. If the national security of a country is at stake, it is something that should be well balanced. Despite that it is about a deplorable bad secret.
Now wait and see how it will end with Edward Snowden.
Photo credit: @lattefarsan / Foter / CC BY-SA