Speaking up safely against corruption in Europe
– Mr K, whistleblower, Greece
Two-thirds of people around the world believe that they can make a difference in the fight against corruption. Yet, in Europe, 74 per cent of those who have experienced or witnessed corruption did not report it. What holds people back?
Our new report Speak Up: Empowering Citizens Against Corruption focuses on this issue and how we work with the public to overcome it. The report draws on experiences from our anti-corruption legal advice centres that we run in the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg.
These anti-corruption centres are present in 62 countries around the world and provide free, confidential and professional legal advice and assistance to ensure that citizens who witness, experience or suspect corruption are able to safely report it. We provide members of the public with the necessary tools and resources to take a stand against corruption. Cases vary greatly, from multi-million Euro public procurement contracts in the Czech Republic to bribes demanded for passing a driving test in Hungary, and unfair retaliation against whistleblowers in Greece and Ireland.
"I first contacted Transparency International Ireland in late 2012 when I became so afraid and annoyed. My family and I couldn't have survived this ordeal without the support of Transparency International Ireland. They stood behind me and my family and helped me properly expose the wrongdoing. I don't know what I would have done without Transparency International Ireland – my phone call to them changed the whole case."
– Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe (on the left in photo)
Read more here to find out how these two Irish police officers blew the whistle on wrongdoing in the police force, and how Transparency International Ireland intervened to support them when they needed it most.
Barriers to reporting corruption
The report highlights how countries are largely failing to create an environment where Europeans can safely question and speak up about shady practices and suspected foul play. Some of the key deterrents to reporting corruption in these seven European countries include:
- Practical barriers to accessing information which hampers oversight of institutions by the public
- Patchy or non-existent laws to protect whistleblowers discourage people from stepping forward to report corruption and endangers those who do
- Unclear, inefficient or poorly advertised official channels for citizens to speak up leads to confusion (49 per cent of Europeans don’t know where to report corruption even if they wanted to)
- Low trust in public institutions and their capacity to effectively tackle corruption
Empowering citizens against corruption
At the heart of our work is the deeply rooted belief that ultimately only people can stop corruption. We work with citizens to both address their corruption grievances and to advocate for reform to prevent corrupt practices from happening and end impunity for corruption. Working in partnership with other civil society organisations, media and public bodies, we provide support and assistance to whistleblowers, victims and witnesses of corruption and those who want to see an end to cronyism, lack of transparency and unchecked conflicts of interest.
One thing is clear: when citizens and civil society act together they can achieve major victories against corruption. But to change the culture and make reporting wrongdoing safe, straightforward and effective, governments must do a lot more.
You can help us make even more of a difference. By donating to our cause, you will help us provide support to thousands of people, develop new tools and research to beat corruption and hold governments and businesses to their promises. With your help we build a more fair and just world. Contact your local Transparency International chapter today to find out how to volunteer and stay informed about our work.
With the financial support from the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme European Commission - Directorate-General Home Affairs