Hungarian NGOs Launch Joint Whistleblower Protection Program

  • 29 Apr 2015 9:00 AM
Hungarian NGOs Launch Joint Whistleblower Protection Program
Three Hungarian NGOs signed a cooperation agreement to jointly offer protection and support to Hungarian whistleblowers. The service, known as BeVéd (“to protect”), will help provide whistleblowers with legal support, psychological assistance and media support.

Sándor Léderer of anti-corruption watchdog NGO K-Monitor, Tamás Bodoky of investigative journalism site Átlátszó.hu, Miklos Ligeti of Transparency International Hungary, and Gábor Vágó of the Átlátszónet Foundation spoke at a press conference to emphasise the importance of offering support to Hungarian whistleblowers.

The speakers discussed how Hungary’s legal system offers almost no protection for whistleblowers. The legal environment is one where whistleblowers can be harassed, lose their jobs and become targeted by lengthy and expensive lawsuits for turning to the media and authorities – all without any consequence or progress in uncovering the issue causing them to turn whistleblower in the first place.

Organizers hope BeVéd will help reassure Hungarians that they would have a safety net, a group of organizations willing to support them, should they feel the need to blow the whistle, as in the case of former Hungarian tax authority official-turned-whistleblower András Horváth, who has been unable to find a job since exposing massive fraud at Hungary’s National Tax and Customs Adminstration in November 2013.

When contacted by a potential whistleblower or whistleblowers, BeVéd will set up preliminary meetings with them to discuss the details of their case. BeVéd will help outline the necessary requirements for disclosing the case and inform the whistleblower(s) of the expected and potential consequences of going public. If the given case is well-founded, the organizations cooperating in the whistleblower-protection program will determine the type of support required and consult with the potential whistleblower on how to move forward.

People can support BeVéd’s protection program through donations, and by volunteering. One-time and ongoing donations are accepted. Donors can make a general donation or provide donations benefitting a specific whistleblower. BeVéd does not accept donations from political parties or their affiliated foundations. BeVéd will make public an annual detailed budget of the whistleblower-protection program.

BeVéd organizers say the program will also award an annual “whistleblower of the year” award.

Source: The Budapest Beacon

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