New legislation to implement the new EU Directive on protection of whistle-blowers in Cyprus is still pending before parliament, Phileleftheros reports.
And all this despite calls by politicians, including ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou, for truth to prevail as regards endless scandals that have recently come to the fore – including fixed football matches.
The recent storm of revelations has raised to the fore another big problem – that of lack of protection of whistle-blowers.
The EU Directive on protection of whistle-blowers has been drafted into a bill and sent to parliament since 2017.
The bill basically contributes to facilitating authorities to gather information on acts of corruption while at the same time protecting each informant. This enhances further the legal arsenal for disclosure of corruption cases.
The bill also provides for additional protection measures for individuals who report corruption, and for leniency for those involved but who cooperate fully with Authorities in efforts to fully disclose and prosecute all involved in a corruption case.
At the same time, the European directive explicitly prohibits punitive practices and establishes safeguards to prevent a whistle-blower’s suspension of duties, dismissal, intimidation and any other form of a retaliatory practice.
Those who assist whistle-blowers, such as colleagues, co-workers and relatives, are also protected by law. And member States should ensure that whistle-blowers have access to thorough and independent information on the procedure, as well as legal support at no cost.
A panel discussion on whistle-blowers was organised in Nicosia on Monday by Cyprus Integrity Forum (CIF) in cooperation with ΜΚΟ Blue Print for Free Speech in Australia.
The international panel discussed the path and speed of progress in the protection of whistle-blowers in Cyprus, in law and in practice.
It also discussed how other countries are moving forward in this area in order to reduce corruption and technological solutions.
By Demetra Landou