Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), the Parliamentary Assembly’s General Rapporteur on the protection of whistleblowers, has strongly criticised the reform of the Maltese law on whistleblower protection.
“Last Friday’s deadline for the transposition of the EU Directive on improving whistleblower protection would have been a great opportunity to improve the legal protections for whistleblowers in Malta, in line with the recommendations of the Council of Europe and the EU Directive. Since the brutal murder of the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, everyone knows how important such protections are for Malta,” he said.
Commenting on the main weaknesses of the law, he pointed out that, in particular, “the new private and public sector whistleblower units do not provide the necessary guarantees of independence and absence of conflict of interest; barriers in access to the organisational leadership prevent whistleblower information from getting into the right hands, which is after all the main purpose of whistleblower protection; and a loophole in the definitions effectively places a high burden of proof on the whistleblower, as protection is denied whenever a negative action is ‘justifiable for administrative or organisational reasons’, whether or not it is retaliatory.”
Finally, in terms of procedure, Mr Omtzigt noted with regret that “the legislation was rushed through without any meaningful consultation and ignores the Directive’s requirements for transparency, including regular monitoring of the legislation’s impact”.