International Whistleblowers Day 2022In the framework of the project:

The International Whistleblower Day is an annual event of the Coalition to celebrate whistleblowers but also our achievements in the region and discuss about challenges ahead. The Coalition celebrated together with member organizations, and Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative and Youth Education Forum on May 12, 2022, in a two-day event hosted by Coalition member Center for Investigative Journalism – SCOOP.

The meeting was opened with welcoming remarks on the side of the organizers. Coalition co-coordinator Mr. Arjan Dyrmishi talked about whistleblower cases in the region that ultimately led to the formation of a regional organization such as the SEE Coalition on Whistleblower Protection. He mentioned in particular “whistleblowers Gjorgji Lazarevski and Zvonko Kostovski who, with their heroism have become the most well-known whistleblowers in the Balkan by exposing the government’s corruption affairs in controlling part of the media, hiring people based on party loyally, negotiating election fraud, retaliation of political opponents, and money laundering. Mr. Dyrmishi talked about the achievements so far and the event serving as a celebration of these achievements but also as a forum in which members and partners discuss future steps toward promoting whistleblowing as an anti-corruption tool and strengthening whistleblower protection laws and mechanisms.

Additionally, head of Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative Secretariat, Ms. Desislava Gotsova talked about RAI’s continuous support to the work of CSOs and other stakeholders to enhance whistleblower protection in the region and also presented some of RAI’s projects in this regard.

Gjorgji lazarevski, prominent whistleblower in the region that changed the perspective of whistleblowing in Southeast Europe talked about his experience and how he tries to help potential whistleblowers as best as he can, while addressing the problems with the implementation of law. “I can’t tell people to just keep quiet. This is a struggle inside all of them. But it is already a signal of movement that we are able to speak openly and loudly about whistleblowing”, – he said.

As it is become part of the celebration, our hosts give out certificates of appreciation for their work with whistleblowers. This year they went to Desislava Gotskova, Kristina Atovska, Gjorgji Lazarevski, Arjan Dyrmishi, Mark Worth and Goran Lefkov.

The second day of the event was dedicated to youth. It brought together around 50 participants from the fields of law, political and social sciences, defense and peace studies from universities in Skopje and Tetovo. The Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of North Macedonia Julian Vassallo, Youth Education Forum’s Risto Saveski and Head of RAI Secretariat Desislava Gotskova welcomed the participants. Part of this event was a Ted-like talk by international expert Gerard Ryle, as well as the Macedonian journalist Tomislav Kezharovski and whistleblower Gjorgji Lazarevski, as well as the screening of RAI’s social experiment video Whistle – For the Brave Ones.

The International Whistleblower Day in Skopje was thus an event that created different settings, each with a particular take on the topic of whistleblowing, engaging with a diverse audience, from experts, to whistleblowers, and young professionals.