Government flags up new Latvian whistleblowing law

On Tuesday, April 16, the Latvian government launched a new campaign designed to support whistleblowing and the reporting of nefarious deeds by officials and businesses alike.

Titled "See. Hear. Speak." the aim of the campaign is "to raise awareness of the importance of sounding the alert in the public interest," according to a release which claimed almost 70% of Latvia's residents are ready to get involved in improving life in Latvia, but more than half of the population does not know what to do if they see violations in the workplace.

On May 1, a new "Whistleblowing Act" will come into force, which provides for the establishment of a mechanism for informing the competent authorities and for the protection of whistleblowers.

It builds on a previous campaign as reported in the past by LSM.

According to research carried out by Norstat in April 2019, the most frequently reported violations are corruption (90%), wastage of public money or property (87%) and inactivity, neglect or use of service (84%).
 
"Whistleblowing is a tool that, like in many other countries in the European Union, will help the public to engage in the prevention of various violations," the release said. 
 
“Silence and inaction do nothing to improve quality of life, and in some ways risks becoming an accessory. Often people who see actions that threaten the public interest do not know what to do with this information, or are silent about the fear of possible consequences - dismissal, sanctions against themselves or relatives, ” said Inese Kušķe, an expert at the State Administration Policy Department of the State Chancellery and one of the authors of the new law. The State Chancellery itself now operates a dedicated whistleblowing contact point.
 
"No one should be punished for legitimate public interest protection, so the law provides for both the protection of personal data and state-guaranteed legal assistance, if necessary," said Kušķe.
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