Georgia must better protect the whistleblowers
The legislation on whistleblower protection exists in Georgia since 2009. However, both the existing legislative framework and its enforcement are lackluster. These shortcomings became even more salient in March 2015, when Ruslan Baziashvili, a police officer, was fired from work for providing information about possible crimes committed inside the Ministry of Interior to Givi Targamadze, an MP from the United National Movement.
The whistleblower is an individual who discloses information related to corrupt or illegal activities committed in public or private sector organizations to individuals or entities believed to be able to react to these activities. Backing whistleblowers by providing legal protection and clear procedures leads to disclosures of corrupt acts and helps the society at large in avoiding dangers emanating from money laundering, corrupt public works or human rights violations.
The following are some of the shortcomings of Georgian legislation:
Whistleblower protection applies solely to current or former public sector employees;
There is no clear or exhaustive list of acts that a whistleblower can disclose to relevant authorities;
There is no special legislation that regulates issues of whistleblowing in the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior;
The law does not provide any compensation to whistleblowers in case they are harmed or become victims of reprisals.
Besides these and other legislative shortcomings, it is noteworthy that in practice the legal protection of whistleblowers has never been applied. This circumstance points to the existing stigma against disclosing crimes at the workplace. It is also obvious that the society at large is poorly informed about the law on whistleblower protection.
Our new policy brief provides a list of recommendations, which aim at fixing main shortcomings of the Georgian whistleblower protection system and bringing it closer to international best practices.
It has to be noted that a draft law approved by the Georgian Government in July 2015 fills some of the gaps of the current legislation highlighted above. It is paramount that the Georgian government swiftly adopts these legislative amendments and, at the same time, ensures that other shortcomings are also addressed.
This project is funded by the European Union.
This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Transparency International Georgia and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.