Raising Awareness About Whistle-Blowers (CZ0025)
Raising awareness of the issue of whistle-blowers on illegal activity
Start and end date of commitment: 1 September 2018 – 31 December 2021
Lead implementing agency: Office of the Government of the Czech Republic
Which public problem will be resolved by this commitment?
A somewhat negative attitude persists in the Czech Republic towards individuals who, in the public interest and under specified conditions, make a reliable notification of suspected illegal activity (not necessarily a criminal offence) of which they have learned in the course of their employment in particular.
These individuals face not just an inconsistent reaction from those around them, but also often labour-law-related sanctions from their employers, such as bullying, harassment and other pathological phenomena in the workplace. However, these practices also mean that society retains a fear of the negative consequences of such actions, though they are highly desirable from the perspective of public interest.
The response of EU member states to the negative phenomena linked to whistle-blowing resulted in the submission of a draft directive of the European Parliament and Council on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law.
What is the commitment?
The objective is to support a change in the perception of whistle-blowers, to enhance appreciation of their social role, and at the same time, to inspire whistle-blowers themselves not to be afraid to draw attention to illegal activity, to give them knowledge of what protection is available to them and of whom they can turn to in case of need. Given the difficulties and necessarily gradual nature of the process of changing society’s attitudes, this is a long-term campaign exceeding the period covered by one action plan. As part of the implementation of this commitment, the legislative development of the draft directive of the European Parliament and Council on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law will be reflected, among other things, as will the course of the legislative process for the draft national legislation on the protection of whistle-blowers in the Czech Republic.
How will the commitment contribute to solving a public problem?
For both professionals and the lay public, campaigns will be organised focussing on various aspects of the whistle-blowing problem, with the objective of raising awareness both of the whistle-blowers themselves and of employers and the relevant public authorities, and supporting the creation of an environment in which the reporting of illegal activities is neither punished nor stigmatised. Attention will also be paid to explaining the role and importance of reporting illegal activities, with an attempt to shift perception of this activity as a positive thing beneficial to society as a whole, in a campaign with the involvement of real whistle-blowers.
How does the commitment relate to OGP values?
The commitment relates to the values of transparency, civil participation and public accountability, since it will provide more information on the issue of reporting illegal activities to all relevant stakeholders and improve the clarity and accessibility of this information. The commitment will improve conditions for the active operation of civil society, of which whistle-blowers are an integral part, and by shifting perceptions of reporting illegal activities as an action beneficial to society, it will create the conditions to increase the number of activities reported and correspondingly reduce the space for corruption, leading to more efficient management of state assets.
The commitment is part of a wider spectrum of government anti-corruption activities enshrined in strategic government anti-corruption documents and it will contribute to meeting the Czech Republic’s international commitments (to the OECD, for example).
Milestone activity with verifiable output
Organisation of events (workshops, seminars, training) on the problem of protecting whistle-blowers
01 September 2018 - 31 December 2021
Awareness campaign on the problem of reporters of illegal activities
01 September 2018 - 31 December 2021
Drawing up a comparative analysis
01 September 2018 - 31 December 2021
Name of the responsible person from the implementing agency
Mgr. Kateřina Slezáková
Director of Regulatory Impact Assessment Department
Email and telephone
firstname.lastname@example.org, +420 224 002 482
Other stakeholders involved
Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic
IRM Midterm Status Summary
4. Raising awareness of the issue of whistle-blowers on illegal activity
Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:
The objective of the commitment is to support a change in the perception of whistle-blowers, to enhance appreciation of their social role, and at the same time, to inspire whistle-blowers themselves not to be afraid to draw attention to illegal activity, to give them knowledge of what protection is available to them and of whom they can turn to in case of need. Given the difficulties and necessarily gradual nature of the process of changing society’s attitudes, this is a long-term campaign exceeding the period covered by one action plan. As part of the implementation of this commitment, the legislative development of the draft directive of the European Parliament and Council on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law will be reflected, among other things, as will the course of the legislative process for the draft national legislation on the protection of whistle-blowers in the Czech Republic.
- Organisation of events (workshops, seminars, training) on the problem of protecting whistle-blowers;
- Awareness campaign on the problem of reporters of illegal activities;
- Drawing up a comparative analysis
For full text of the commitment please see: https://korupce.cz/partnerstvi-pro-otevrene-vladnuti-ogp/narodni-akcni-plany-nap/ctvrty-akcni-plan-2018-2020/faze-vytvoreni/
Start Date: 1 September 2018
End Date: 31 December 2021
Context and Objectives
The Czech Republic does not currently have a comprehensive law to protect whistleblowers. This commitment aims to raise awareness on the importance of whistleblowers and to prepare a comparative analysis on whistleblower protection. The objective is both to support a change in the perception of whistleblowers, enhancing appreciation of their social role and to give potential whistleblowers the necessary protection and support to incentivize reporting of wrongdoing.
This commitment aims to tackle the negative perception about the reporting of wrongdoing by organizing workshops, events, and campaigns to support the creation of an environment in which the reporting of illegal activities is neither punished nor stigmatized.
The commitment is verifiable overall. However, the action plan does not provide details on the number of events, the intended audience of workshops, or the main objective of the comparative analysis.
The commitment has a minor potential impact. It pledges to conduct an awareness-raising campaign but does not commit to passing or preparing the legislation on whistleblower protection, which would have been a more ambitious commitment. When consulted about the comparative analysis, the representative of the Ministry of Justice explained that this will focus on a comparison of whistleblower protection laws and practices in Europe. This comparative analysis will inform the legislative process and adoption of the law.
Given the importance of the whistleblower protection legislation, the IRM recommends continuing focusing on this issue in the next action plan. As an important step, the country needs to pass the whistleblowing law that is currently under preparation.
During the implementation of this action plan, the Ministry of Justice could take the following actions:
- Specify how this commitment contributes and responds to the different legislation projects in place (e.g. project bill submitted in 2019; EU directive on the protection of whistleblowers;  and anti-corruption commitments submitted to the OECD);
- Involve CSOs in workshops and awareness-raising campaigns, taking into account their previous experiences with the issue (e.g. collect feedback from Transparency International and Anticorruption Endowment “Blow the whistle” event in 2018). 
 European Parliament, EU directive on the protection of whistleblowers, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20190410IPR37529/protecting-whistle-blowers-new-eu-wide-rules-approved
 Petr Leyer, Transparency International Czech Republic, interview by IRM researcher, 27 May 2019.
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