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London Events from the Constantine Cannon Whistleblowing Team

Posted  February 6, 2020

With the actions of whistleblowers regularly in the news, and media organizations considering issues about the role of whistleblowers, the Constantine Cannon London Whistleblower Team has continued to be an active voice in advocating for whistleblowers before many different audiences.  Among our recent events:

Mary Inman on Closed Circuit

On January 29, 2020, Partner Mary Inman was tapped to appear on the Closed Circuit talk show, hosted by the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. This episode, moderated by New York Times bestselling author Tom Mueller and broadcast live on Twitter, focused on “True Information,” or the controversial publication of protected information. Inman discussed the challenges whistleblowers face when they go public noting the importance of creating a safe environment for whistleblowers to fight back against companies’ unwarranted restriction of information, particularly through the use of technology.

Inman stressed that most whistleblowers don’t think of themselves as such initially, but rather believe they are just doing their job. When organizations react aggressively against employees who speak out, it can be very difficult for whistleblowers to get the emotional and legal support they need, and for the public to properly understand the information being released.

Fortunately, initiatives such as Callisto and the Signals Network are helping whistleblowers. The former collects information for release at a later date as a type of escrow which can assist whistleblowers in bypassing intimidation lawsuits and other retaliatory measures. The latter trains media outlets and journalists on how to deal responsibly with whistleblowers and allow the story to develop in the best way possible.

Inman also noted that whistleblowers hold up a mirror to organizations and reflect their mistakes, prompting a defensive attitude, but the goal is not only to point out what has gone wrong but also to fix it. Inman referenced the partnership that ought to exist between whistleblower lawyers and journalists in promoting the shared goal of protecting whistleblowers and the truth.

Whistleblowing for Independent Journalism

Left to right: Rianne Verbeek, Anna Myers, MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield and Partner Mary Inman

On February 4, 2020, Mary Inman participated in an event hosted by MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Greens/EFA) at the EU Parliament and sponsored by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), titled “Whistleblowing for Independent Journalism.” Other panellists included Rianne Verbeek of Free Press Unlimited and Anna Myers from the Whistleblowing International Network (WIN). The event discussed the challenges facing journalists when implementation of the 2019 EU Whistleblower Directive starts taking place in EU Member States. Myers stressed the need to remain vigilant at attempts by Member States to potentially undermine the protections set out in the Directive and praised a transposition guide prepared by Constantine Cannon at the request of the EFJ.

The guide provides an in-depth look at the Directive’s provisions most relevant to journalists and also recommendations for further improvement. In Mary Inman’s words, the Directive represents a “quantum leap forward” by creating a seamless EU-wide net of common minimum protection. However, she identified some “missed opportunities” such as the unavailability of anonymous reporting and tying whistleblowing to a work-related context, thus excluding non-insider whistleblowers from protection. MEP Delbos-Corfield ended the Q&A session noting the topic is complex, but the guide’s use of tips and examples would be useful for educating the public.

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