Whistleblowing has been in the spotlight over the last few years with military whistleblowing from Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, to a whistleblower's revelation that led to the Trump-Ukraine scandal and the US President's impeachment proceedings, to the very recent case of Li Wenliang, a Chinese ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital who warned about the Coronovius outbreak in late 2019 and was reproached by the Chinese police for making such statements. Sadly he later contracted the virus and died. As the world now tries to cope with the spread of Covid 19, sadly we all know too well he was quite right to raise the alarm.
Whistleblowing can be security related, health related or about the acts of corporations such as those who exploit the earth's natural resources. It is fair to say without whistleblowers such activities are likely to go on unseen, un-noticed and unchecked.
Whistleblowers have been fundamental to revealing serious criminal activity in public and private organisations and often blow the whistle at great personal cost. A whistleblower often does not win.
Every business carries risk of ongoing criminal behaviour if it does not have an adequate whistleblowing culture.
So what is whistleblowing, why is it important and how do countries across the globe provide an environment where whistleblowing is protected by way of legislation? Further how can whistleblowing be implemented in your firm in a meaningful way and how can you tackle this if you have offices across the globe?
In this article we seek to answer those questions.
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Whistleblowing is vital as a way of reporting criminal, illegal, immoral or unethical activity and potentially preventing events that could lead to catastrophes. Whistleblowing therefore is a way of creating an environment of self-checking. However, this is not possible without the appropriate legislative protections and organisational culture.