August 2, 2021

“Protecting whistleblowers in France is not just a European commitment, it is a democratic imperative”

Lhe threat that disinformation poses to democracy reminds us of the importance of journalistic work, substantive investigation and fact-checking. Whistleblowers play a central role in this public interest exercise. They inform us of reprehensible facts and human rights violations that are taking place in their business or their places of life. They are sentries, lookouts without which the right of citizens to be informed would be violated.

But we fear, at each stage, that they will be silenced, as the insecurity that weighs on their shoulders is disastrous. Harassment, dismissal, bribery, gag lawsuits… The risks that whistleblowers take are obvious and today we are calling on the public authorities to take measures to protect them.

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We support the call launched by the House of whistleblowers and more than 30 other associations and unions: it is urgent to adopt a law that truly defends whistleblowers and the transposition of the European directive on this subject is an exceptional opportunity.

Lack of legislation

Current law has many flaws. If the disclosure of confidential information is the subject of an immunity, this is not the case for the obtaining of this information. We sometimes find ourselves in an ubiquitous situation where a person reporting information in compliance with the law can be seen, at the same time, condemned for the way in which he learned about it even though these acts are essential for disclosure and disclosure. demonstration of the facts.

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Associations or unions that provide us with information are not protected. Worse: when an investigation is opened, they may be forced to reveal the identity of the whistleblower who informed them, thus exposing them to retaliation. The tortuous whistleblowing process put in place by the Sapin 2 law pushes whistleblowers to make mistakes: poorly informed, they struggle to identify the stage where they can contact a journalist, and then risk losing the benefit. of the weak existing protection.

By viewing the media as a last resort, it deprives whistleblowers of an extra card to play on the protection table. The publicity of the alert and the retaliatory measures taken against its thrower are in fact likely to make these reprisals more difficult. The means available to the media to investigate make it possible to reveal the extent of the scandals without further engaging the whistleblower in their meanders.

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