Thursday, September 15, 2011

Whistleblowing Austria - new service for those who want to speak freely on corruption and wrongdoings

The requirements of the law are the following: to live honorably, to harm no one, to concede everyone his own.
Codex Iuris Civilis (529 CE)

Institutions, 1. Book, Titel I, Verse 3

Only disclosed wrongdoings can be fought.

Julian Assange

The goal of Whistleblower Austria is to contribute to an open society, in which it must be possible to speak freely of corruption and other wrongdoings both within the state and the private sector, as well as to help those who disclose these wrongdoings and misconducts and who take action against them. First of all, this website should contributes to disseminate the idea of whistleblowing in Austria.

Whistleblowing is not meant to denigrate or denunciate colleagues at work, but to make available

information of common or public interest, which serve the cause of stopping wrongdoings and

misconducts. Whistleblowing is an act of social courage !

“In Austria, there is a certain culture of corruption”, so the former president of the Court of Audit,

Mr. Franz Fiedler, in summer 2010 when the embarrassing classification of Austria as 16th of the

corruption list of Transparency International was published.

The goal of Whistleblowing Austria is therefore also to contribute to a counter-culture to the culture of


Corruption itself is by far not the only problem people encounter in corporations and authorities: attacks

and threats to life or physical condition as well as the physical and mental health are unfortunately

common. Mobbing, humiliation, bullying and sexual harassment and violation also are every-day threats

in corporations. Another form of misconduct is dismissal, relocation and discharge due to whistleblowing.

It is about time to release a Whistleblower regulation not only for the Republic of Austria, its

Länder and municipalities, but also for other institutions like political parties, churches, religious societies, other NGOs.

The rule for almost every misconduct is that the most effective determent is the fear that it will come to

light and someone will deal with it.

This at least is the opinion of the Court of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal. The United Nations who

employ more than 60.000 people around the globe – many of them in Vienna – see themselves as

exemplary employer. To what extent pretense and reality drift apart is another story. The fact that the UN

released a Whistleblowing regulation already in 2005 should however give Austria as an active member

of this organisation an impetus to better protect whistleblowers.

Julian Assange and his team have dramatically pushed whistleblowing with their internet platform

WikiLeaks into public awareness.

In all cases Whistleblowing is about pushing back the legal hurdles which protect people from answering

for their – in any case unlawful, sometimes criminal misconduct. Such a legal hurdle which got under

pressure in the last few years is the banking secrecy. Abuse of other legally protected secrets as the

official, professional, trade and company secret have to be verified regarding their usefulness.

Persons who disclose such grievances should not be persecuted, but protected. Whistleblowers,

however often get persecuted, mobbed or devilled; they are in fact the heroes of our time, when the

abuse of power, corruption, defamation, sexual harassment, lies and other unethical behavior may hold


Last but not least it is urgently necessary to legitimize Whistleblowing in Austria as in other

countries both within State agencies and within private companies and corporations while respecting data protection provisions.

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