EU Media Committee adopts PN MEP Zammit Dimech’s whistleblower proposals

Francis Zammit Dimech, member of the Committee responsible for media at the European Parliament in Brussels had tabled legislation on whistleblowers under the backdrop of murdered journalists in the EU

PN MEP and member of the European People’s Party (EPP), Francis Zammit Dimech, had tabled proposals to strengthen whistleblowers’ protection across EU which have been adopted today by the Media Committee at the European Parliament. 

The proposals include right of appeal, protection of intermediaries including journalists and public disclosure. “Several member states have failed to protect their own citizens who report breaches of law,” Zammit Dimech said after the vote on the legislation.

“This is why today’s adoption of a proposal to introduce and strengthen whistle-blowers protection across the EU is an important step for democracy and rule of law. It is also a clear message that we stand with investigative journalists including Daphne Caruana Galizia, Jan Kuciak and Viktoria Marinova. We owe this to them too.”

In an EPP statement Zammit Dimech said that it was thanks to whistleblowers that scandals such as the Panama Papers and other stories of corruption at the highest levels of government were brought to light.

“Whistleblowers take personal risks to report breaches of law,” he said. “This is why I have emphasized the need to defend citizens reporting breaches of law to safeguard public interest and proper functioning of democracy. Whistleblowers deserve legal, economic, social and psychological protection.”

A particular clause in the legislation, also proposed by Zammit Dimech, allows journalists to resort to external channels and reaching out to the public for protection, if internal channels prove to be inefficient or inadequate, he said.  

The PN MEP added that this was crucial as at times government provided protection to those who only blow a whistle which is sound to the respective government.

During negotiations, Zammit Dimech brought up the issue that protection via this whistleblower legislation should also be given to intermediaries facilitating the report and disclosure of breaches of law.

“Reports adopted by the Committee underlined that authorities receiving and handling these same reports must be independent. Zammit Dimech’s key proposal on the right of appeal and impartiality of authorities was also adopted,” the EPP said. This would guarantee, they argued, that persons requiring protecting as whistleblowers will be entitled to the right of appeal before the Courts and that under no circumstances can the authority tasked to grant such status or protection have an actual or potential conflict of interest.

A vote on these proposals is expected to be taken by the end of the month. 

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