February 23, 2008


Whistleblowers are part of society's alarm and self-repair system, bringing attention to problems before they become far more damaging. Australian whistleblowers have spoken out about police corruption, paedophilia in the churches, corporate mismanagement, biased appointment procedures, environmentally harmful practices and a host of other issues.

Although whistleblowers are extremely valuable to society, most of them suffer enormously for their efforts. Ostracism, harassment, slander, reprimands, referral to psychiatrists, demotion, dismissal and blacklisting are among the common methods used to attack whistleblowers. Bosses are the usual attackers with co-workers sometimes joining in.

Many whistleblowers are conscientious, high-performing employees who believe that the system works. That's why they speak out. They believe that by alerting others to a problem, it will be dealt with. Many do not think of themselves as whistleblowers at all - they believe they are just doing their job. So they are shaken to the core when the response to their public-spirited efforts is to vilify them as disloyal, to question their work performance, to withdraw emotional support and to mount attacks. As well as suffering financial losses and severe stress, whistleblowers are at increased risk of relationship breakdown and health problems.

Even worse than this, though, few whistleblowers seem to bring about any change in the problem they speak out about. The treatment of whistleblowers is a double disaster for society: capable and courageous individuals are attacked and sometimes destroyed, while the original problems are left to fester.

From: http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/pubs/05overland.html, by Professor Brian Martin

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Virtually all of these methods for silencing the truth in relation to my whistleblowing and the resulting treatment I received have happened to me. I have NOT, however, collaborated by keeping quiet. My information is FULLY exposed online. I encourage all others who have reported wrongdoing at their institutions to go public by producing a website that tells the truth. Only through naming and shaming can the practice of victimisation be stopped!