‘A historic day for those who wish to expose corruption and wrongdoing’

The vote in the European Parliament yesterday for increased protection for whistleblowers and investigative journalists has been widely welcomed international organisations and MEPs.

Transparency International was among the international NGOs welcoming the new legislation, saying it was “a historic day for those who wish to expose corruption and wrongdoing”.

The law for the protection of whistleblowers and journalists was adopted with 591 votes in favour and included significant protections for whistleblowers who face intimations or retaliations.

Increased protection is available as private information can now be disclosed internally to the relevant authorities, or directly to EU institutions. The new rules aim to encourage and protect whistleblowers who wish to report on illegality in both public and private workplaces.

The legislation is intended to provide increased protection to report on breaches of EU law. These include public health and safety, protection of the EU’s financial interests, data protection, corruption, anti-money laundering, corporate taxation, and environmental and nuclear protections – without the fear of intimation or retaliation, the European Parliament said in a statement.

PN Head of Delegation David Casa, an MEP who has regularly spoken of the need to protect investigative journalists and whistleblowers and worked for this achievement at EU level, said today’s vote was an important achievement.

In his plenary speech, he referred to Jonathan Ferris – the former FIAU official who has been denied whistleblower status to reveal information he holds. He also remembered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, assassinated 18 months ago, for exposing corruption and wrongdoing.

“I would like to mention Daphne Caruana Galizia who was brutally murdered and also whistleblowers who are not being offered protection by Malta,” Casa said.

MEP Francis Zammit Dimech said, “Whistleblower legislation sends a clear message that the EU stands for freedom of speech and against corruption and that we want to protect investigative journalists”.

Rapporteur Virginie Roziere pointed out that recent scandals such as LuxLeaks, Panama Papers and Football leaks have helped to shine a light on the great precariousness that whistleblowers suffer.

“On the eve of the European elections, Parliament has come together to send a strong signal that it has heard the concerns of its citizens and pushed for robust rules guaranteeing their safety and that of those persons who choose to speak out.”

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