Monitoring of the media coverage on EU Directive 2019/1937 on protection of whistleblowers and respectively the way the general public is informed on its rights and opportunities the Directive offers for the citizens – short analyses of the media coverage and the way the Bulgarian citizens are being informed on the issue
The monitoring covers the period March 2021 – June 2022. The general impression is that the coverage of the Directive is moderate, and goes into six main segments:
1. Specialized coverage – mainly on Law offices web pages – 5
2. NGOs web pages – 5
3. General and Specialized Media – 10
4. New and old drop boxes/channels – 3
5. New bodies set up in relation to the Directive – 1
24 publications are registered for the analyzed period.
ANALYSES IN DETAILS
A working group was set up in the Ministry of Justice in 2021 to draft a law for the protection of whistleblowers. The group gathered representatives of government institutions, experts, civil society organizations and businesses.
In January 2022 the working group at the Ministry of Justice was closed. However, it drafted a Law on the Protection of Persons Submitting Signals or Publicly Disclosing Information on Violations.
The draft was published on the Public Consultation Portal of the Council of Ministers on April 21, 2022
The opinions on the draft were due on 23 May 2022.
Relatively few opinions were added to the Draft – please see the attached PDFs, and only two comments – one of them is even not relevant to the issue.
The date of publication challenges the information on the website of the Council of Ministers that the new law should be adopted until 15 April 2022
The publication of the draft did not provoke massive public comments.
The coverage of the issue remained relatively limited.
1. Specialized coverage – mainly on Law offices’ web pages
The articles are mostly a general overview, giving information on the Directive itself.
The general impression one more time is that the main goal of the publications is to attract potential clients which need, or will need, specialized judicial assistance/advice in the field.
Some of the above publications end with an invitation to contact the respective Law office in case of need or more questions.
Some of the articles are in English, thus most probably directed to English speaking clients in/or outside Bulgaria.
Here are some examples:
2. NGOs web pages
NGOs remain one of the most active on the issue.
Among them are:
Transparency International – Bulgaria
Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives and Center for the Study of Democracy published on April 21, 2022 a detailed joint opinion on the public consultation procedure for the draft Law.
3. General and Specialized Media
In the very same day when the draft law was published a few stories appeared in central Bulgarian medi.
Most of the publications did not provoke any comments.
The coverage afterward remained very limited
Most of the coverage is critical to the fact that Bulgaria is delaying the legislation for implementation of the European directive on the so-called whistleblowers.
Other publications are not exclusively related to the Draft law and the Directive, but they mentioned it the context of the Government engagement to fight corruption, i.e. the new legislation is mentioned as a measure among others against corruption.
4. Drop boxes/channels
Bulgarian Development Bank
There are limited publications about new channels set up in relation with the Directive. One of the few institutions which announced that developed a breach reporting mechanism (within an initiative Zero Tolerance of Corruption) is Bulgarian Development Bank.
5. New bodies set up in relation with the Directive
A new NGO – WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION SERVICES – was created in relation with the Directive – https://whisblow.eu.
Unfortunately the previous impression that the Directive is still not largely known among the general audience due to relatively low media coverage – both in the general and specialized media – is still valid.Furthermore – the publications on the issue attract very limited readership and do not provoke large comments among the audience.