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Draconian threats against those who expose corruption a backward and dangerous step

 

13th February 2017, London – Draft recommendations from the Law Commission, that could see whistleblowers sentenced to 14 years in prison, are a dangerous move that would make it harder to expose corruption inside government.

“Protection of Official Data” a consultation paper from the Law Commission recommends raising the maximum sentence for leaking official secrets from two years to 14 and extending the definition of espionage to include obtaining secret information.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy Transparency International UK, said:

“Journalists, anti-corruption campaigners and whistleblowers play a vital role in exposing corruption. These repressive proposals could create a culture of silence, where individuals are intimidated into keeping quiet in the face of wrong-doing. It would become far easier for powerful people and government agencies to get away with unlawful action.”

“Corruption thrives when whistleblowers, journalists and campaigners are silenced. The UK has promised to lead on fighting corruption globally, but draconian measures against those seeking to expose law-breaking will create space for corruption to thrive in this country and embolden repressive regimes overseas.”

“Those who are exposing corruption must be protected not punished. Instead they should be recognised for the vital service they provide society, often putting their jobs and even lives on the line in the public interest. We strongly oppose any extension of the law which would criminalise those working to expose corruption.”

Along with human rights organisations that defend whistleblowing, likely to be affected, Transparency International UK has not been consulted on these proposals. We will however be submitting a substantive response to the consultation.

***ENDS***

 

Contact:

 Dominic Kavakeb

Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk

020 3096 7695

07964560340

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Read 217 times Last modified on Monday, 13 February 2017 16:21

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