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Whistleblowing and whistleblower protections in the Covid-19 era
Whistleblowing has proved to be an effective means of unearthing complex and often hidden corruption practices and regulatory infractions. Yet the protection of whistleblowers continues to be a serious challenge in most jurisdictions. This, in turn, undermines the effectiveness of whistleblowing as a potent tool to detect corruption cases. Experts believe that COVID-19 virus pandemic has heightened the risk of corruption and fraud in the private, public and non-profit sectors. In particular, procurements carried out in emergency conditions in the health sector, and the huge stimulus packages provided in many countries to businesses and individuals, have provided opportunities for corrupt practices to emerge. The global economic trend which shows signs of an oncoming recession exacerbate the danger of anti-corruption laws and regulations being violated as the business sector goes into survival mode. While governments use emergency powers to handle the outbreak, it is imperative to have increased oversight of executive decisions by the judiciary, national audit institutions, ombudspersons, civil society and the media. This can be reinforced by providing a more conducive environment for whistleblowing disclosures and an increased focus on protecting those who choose to report wrongdoing and abuses directly outside their employment.

Our experienced practitioners will share their experience and best practices on how to manage retaliation risk once the whistle has been blown and how to empower whistleblowers to speak up.

• Anna Myers, Executive Director, Whistleblowing International Network, Glasgow, UK
• Leah Ambler, Legal Analyst and Manager, Latin America Anti-Corruption Programme, OECD, Paris, France
• Karin Buzanich-Sommeregger, Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Vienna, Austria
• Andrea Franzoso, working in the field of education and book writer
• Fabian Teichmann, President, Teichmann International, Zurich, Switzerland.
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