Whistleblower protection law resurfaces

Two years after government and other stakeholders backed the creation of a law to protect whistleblowers who reveal information in the public interest, proposals are still being passed from committee to committee.

As reported by LSM in January 2015 officials signed a memorandum of understanding that they said would lead to the introduction of a laws protecting whistleblowers.

At a meeting of the government committee on February 7 2017, it was suggested that a draft Whistleblower Protection Law might be reviewed by the government next month... if all loose ends are tied up by that time.

If not, the legislation will be reviewed yet again by the Cabinet of Ministers committee at some point in the future.

After the government committee's meeting February 7, State Chancellery consultant Inese Kuske explained to reporters that work on the bill, which had continued for more than two-and-a-half years, was practically over, and just a few technicalities were to be solved yet.

One of these is responsibility of persons who try to retaliate against a whistleblower, and designating a government institution to hold these persons responsible.

"This matter will be further scrutinized as the goal of the bill is to protect whistleblowers," said Kuske. The law will stipulate administrative action against persons who try to retaliate against a whistleblower, but it is yet to be decided which state institution will be responsible for the protection of whistleblowers, she explained.

Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs (National Alliance) told reporters that during the Cabinet committee's meeting that neither the State Police, Corruption Prevention Bureau nor State Labor Inspectorate wished to be responsible for such broad range of problems, covering corruption, fraud, bribery, environment, and others. "I believe that we will find a solution within a week," said the minister.

Transparency International in Latvia said previously that the bill had to be further improved to ensure whistleblowers' anonymity. The organization said persons who reveal whistleblowers' identity must be held responsible, and this provision must be included in the law.

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