In an attempt to raise public awareness against corruption in the Southeast Europe the Regional Cooperation Council conducted a survey on whistleblowing in the countries of the Western Balkans. The report with data collected from with the participation of 7000 citizens presents the views of the societies of this region on whistleblowers and the practice of whistleblowing.

In overall the results of the survey reveal a relatively weak support for whistleblowers. Only slightly more than the half of those surveyed told that the whistleblowers should be supported and only one third told that whistleblowing is an acceptable act in their society. Moreover, one in six persons told that the whistleblowers should be punished for their acts.

Whistleblowing is seen as one of the most efficient tools to fight and expose corruption. Organizations like the Council of Europe and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have developed international standards in this field, while most of the governments across the SEE region have put in place laws related to protection of whistleblowers.

However a lot more needs to be done by all those involved in the anticorruption efforts to improve the understanding by the citizens of whistleblowing as an effective anticorruption tool. To this end the results of this survey are relevant for it provide hard evidence on where societies of the countries of the region stand with respect to whistleblowing and help their efforts to raise the citizens’ awareness on the use and importance of whistleblowing.

Public Attitudes on Whistleblowing in Albania

The strong public support for whistleblowing and concerns about corruption combine to open opportunities to strengthen whistleblowers’ rights. In Albania the survey was conducted with a representative sample of 1,000 people who answered a range of questions on the issue.

The survey showed that people in Albania have among the region’s strongest views in support of whistleblowers and the practice of whistleblowing. Two out of three (68 percent) said that people who report serious wrongdoing by revealing inside information should be supported. This is tied for the

ce within their organization,  .ional average of 38 percentdoing by revealing inside information. highest figure of the seven countries surveyed.

At least half of respondents believe whistleblowing is acceptable in society and within organizations, that they have a personal obligation to report wrongdoing, and that managers are serious about protecting whistleblowers and would respond to such reports. All of these findings are higher than the regional average.

Despite these citizens’ views, it has been noted that cultural and historical factors have slowed the advance of whistleblowing in Albania. Whistleblowers can be viewed with suspicion and are perceived as ‘snitches’ or ‘spies’ or as individuals acting for mere personal gains.”

People in Albania have strong concerns about government corruption while also having high levels of trust that government itself can solve these problems. In our survey, 43 percent said the best way to stop misconduct is by reporting it to public authorities through official channels. This is much higher than the regional average.

Thirty percent of respondents said the best way to stop misconduct is by reporting it to the media or through the Internet. One in four said the media or Internet should be available as a first disclosure option for whistleblowers, the second-highest figure among the seven countries surveyed.

Some of the most important findings in the different countries

Albania: 68 percent of people said whistleblowers should be supported. This is tied for the highest figure among the seven countries. More than half said they have a personal obligation to report wrongdoing, and that managers are serious about protecting whistleblowers.

BiH: Only 49 percent of people – far fewer than the regional average – said whistleblowers should be supported, and only one-third are confident something would be done if they reported wrongdoing within their organisation.

Croatia: 68 percent of people said whistleblowers should be supported. This is tied for the highest figure among the seven countries. Yet, 44 percent – higher than the regional average – said it is generally unacceptable to blow the whistle.

Kosovo: Three-fourths of people – far higher than the regional average – said a report would be met with a response, and that managers are serious about protecting whistleblowers. Two-thirds said whistleblowers should be supported.

Macedonia: Far fewer people than the regional average – only 41 percent – said whistleblowers should be supported. Thirty percent said whistleblowers should be punished – nearly double the regional average, and much higher than any other country.

Montenegro: Only one-fourth of people believe whistleblowing is generally acceptable, only 4 of 10 said whistleblowers should be supported, and more than 20 percent – higher than the regional average – said they should be punished.

Serbia: More than one-third of people – higher than the regional average – do not know whether whistleblowing is generally acceptable, or whether whistleblowers should be punished. Only one in five people – far less than the regional average – said the most effective way to stop wrongdoing is by contacting the authorities.

The full survey report can be downloaded here: Public Attitudes to whistleblowing in South East Europe’

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