The Malta Independent 17 July 2018, Tuesday

Zammit Dimech named EPP group rapporteur on new whistleblowers legislation

Monday, 18 June 2018, 09:44 Last update: about 29 days ago

MEP Francis Zammit Dimech has been entrusted by the EPP Group in the European Parliament to serve as the Group’s Rapporteur on legislation concerning whistleblowers after that last April, the European Commission proposed a new law to strengthen whistleblower protection across the EU.

Reacting to his appointment, Zammit Dimech said “Protection of whistleblowers is all about protecting EU citizens. After standing up for what is right and exposing breaches of EU law which harm society in general, whistleblowers face high risks of retaliation. It is therefore our duty to better protect these honest people of Europe." Emphasising the crucial role whistleblowers play in our society, Zammit Dimech said that wasn’t it for whistleblowers we would not have known of scandals like the Panama Papers or Cambridge Analytica, scandals that affect EU citizens.

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Protection of whistleblowers is fragmented across the EU. In a report on Media Freedom and Pluralism, Zammit Dimech had outlined that whistleblowers are crucial for investigative journalism. In this regard he had remarked that leglisation had to be strengthened because the Maltese government was boasting of a Whistleblowers Act but in reality it was only using this act to protect and award tenders to whistleblowers that blow a whistle that pleased the government.

Zammit Dimech will be working closely with the lead Rapporteur MEP Curzio Maltese with whom Zammit Dimech collaborated closely in a report on Media Freedom and Pluralism. The proposed legislation will also be scrutinised by the Committee on Legal Affairs in which Zammit Dimech is also a member.

The proposed legislation seeks to establish safe channels for reporting, set new EU-wide standards for protection of whistleblowers and develop mechanisms to protect whistleblowers against retaliation. The Committee which is responsible for media has been given until early October to prepare its position.

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