Introduction

Whistleblowers play an essential role in exposing corruption, fraud, mismanagement and other wrongdoing that threatens public health and safety, financial integrity, human rights, the environment and the rule of law. By disclosing information about such misdeeds, whistleblowers have helped save countless lives and billions of dollars in public funds, while preventing emerging scandals and disasters from worsening.  

Whistleblowers often take on high personal risk. They may be fired, sued, blacklisted, arrested, threatened or, in extreme cases, assaulted or killed. Protecting whistleblowers from such retaliation enables corruption to be exposed, while also enhancing openness and accountability in government and corporate workplaces.

The right of citizens to report wrongdoing is a natural extension of the right of freedom of expression, and is linked to the principles of transparency and integrity. All people have the inherent right to protect the well-being of other citizens and society at large, and in some cases they have the duty to report wrongdoing. The absence of effective protection can therefore pose a dilemma for whistleblowers: they are often expected to report corruption and other crimes, but doing so can expose them to retaliation.

Transparency International works with whistleblower organisations and legal experts to implement and strengthen whistleblower legislation and raise public awareness of its importance.

For further information, please see the Topic Guide on Whistleblowing.

To know more about TI’s Whistleblowing Programme, see https://www.transparency.org/topic/detail/whistleblowing

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