No protection: an independent report highlights gaps in whistleblower laws globally.

Author:Steffee, S.

Many G-20 countries' whistleblower protection laws fail to meet international standards and fall short of best practices, despite a 2010 commitment by those nations to put adequate measures in place by 2012 to safeguard whistleblowers, according to an independent evaluation. The report, The Whistleblower Protection Rules in G-20 Countries: The Next Action Plan, was released ahead of November's G-20 summit in Australia by researchers at the University of Melbourne and Transparency International Australia.

"The G-20, as the largest economies in the world, can and should be at the forefront of whistleblower protection legislation," says report co-author Simon Wolfe, a visiting scholar at the University of Melbourne Law School.

The report scores G-20 nations' laws on 14 different criteria for whistleblower protections and calls for greater support in four of the weakest areas in the public and private sectors:

* Availability of anonymous channels that enable whistleblowers to meet with auditors or regulators.

* Internal disclosure procedures.

* Protection for using external disclosure avenues such as the media, members of legislatures, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)...

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