G20 countries have made a public pledge to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and give them safe avenues to report crime and corruption. Despite some improvements in law, whistleblowers in most G20 countries still would not be fully shielded from being fired, harassed or demoted if they report wrongdoing.
Whistleblower Protection Laws in G20 Countries: Priorities for Action (archived here)– is the first independent research assessment of whistleblower protection laws covering government and corporate employees across the G20 nations. The report is co-authored by a team of researchers from Blueprint for Free Speech, Griffith University, Transparency International-Australia and Melbourne University.
Despite commitments made in 2010 and 2012 to pass adequate whistleblower protections within two years, most G20 countries have failed to do so. G20 countries with particularly poor whistleblower protections in law include Argentina, Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Without strong laws to protect whistleblowers from retaliation, employees and contractors working in government institutions and private companies are deterred from coming forward to report crime and misconduct. This perpetuates government and corporate misconduct, leading to unsafe consumer products, public health threats, environmental crimes, human rights violations and wasted taxpayer money. Fear of reprisal chills freedom of expression.
While there are growing protections for public sector whistleblowers in some countries, for the most part private sector whistleblowers have few protections. Much more work must be done on laws in this area to meet international G20 commitments and best practice standards.