COMMUNIQUE ON THE OCTOBER 19, 2017 ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON WHISTLE-BLOWER COALITION

COMMUNIQUE ON THE OCTOBER 19, 2017 ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION  ON WHISTLE-BLOWER COALITION
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BEING COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A ROUNDTABLE SESSION TO BRAINSTORM ON THE NEED FOR CREATION OF A WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION COALITION, ORGANIZED BY HEDA RESOURCE CENTRE IN COLLABORATION WITH PLATFORME DE PROTECTION DE LANCEURSD’ ALERTE, PPLAAF, WITH THE SUPPORT OF MACARTHUR FOUNDATION.

BRAINSTORMING SESSION

Concerned by the incessant persecution, victimization and threat faced by whistleblowers across the country and failure of government to provide political, legal and social safety nets to whistleblowers from reprisal attack, HEDA Resource Centre with support from MacArthur foundation convened a special brainstorming session to set the template for repositioning stakeholders support for whistleblowers.

Being first of its kind, the brainstorming session which was attended by participants drawn from BudgIT, PremiumTimes, HEDA Resource Centre, Civic Media Lab, SaharaTV, CLEEN Foundation, PLAYYA, Focus TV, Fox, Religious Leaders Anti-Corruption Coalition and TIP focused on exchange of field experiences by participating organizations as a means of sharing the day-to-day challenges faced by these organizations in the course of carrying out their mandate of whistleblower protection. The initiative is, among others, to emphasize the overall goal of: Building public ownership for transparency and accountability in Nigeria.

whistle blowers coalition meeting2

from left – Mr Seun Akinfolarin, Civic Media lab, Sina Odugbemi HEDA Resources Centre, Akewusola Olayemi of Democracy Volunteers, Olatunji Lateef from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Eze Alloysius from PLAYYA, Adewole Adejola of Budgit

Participants at the session individually shared their experiences and challenges of operating, maintaining and sustaining whistleblowers platform and, supporting victims of reprisal attack from whistleblowing. The following programmes/projects currently being executed by participating organizations were used as case studies:

  • Tracks; capital and constituency project tracking by BudgIT
  • Report Yourself; citizens’ reporting platform by BudgIT and RLAC
  • Civic Media Lab; Reporting and creating content project
  • Stopthebribe; petty corruption and bribery platform by CLEEN Foundation

OBSERVATIONS

Participants after extensive debates and cross-fertilization of ideas on the Seminar theme and sub themes observed as follows:

  • There is an urgent need for synergy between CSOs and the media organizations in promoting investigative journalism and whistleblowing;
  • Security risks to human rights defenders is on a rise vis-à-vis fear and security of whistleblowers;

There is an urgent need to harmonize efforts in order to avoid duplication of project activities by different Stakeholders to ensure greater efficiency;

  • Cognizance of the challenge to intensify efforts and work more for the Protection of the whistleblower;
  • There is an urgent need to study and intervene in the different drafts of bills on whistleblower protection currently being debated on the floor of the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly;
  • The absence or inadequate motivation, recognition and reward for citizens to embrace whistleblowing; and
  • Lack of awareness on ills of corruption and bribery their implications for development, decayed infrastructure and poverty alleviation

RECOMMENDATIONS

Mindful of the fact that for the current fight against corruption to record significant success, the three arms of government must be on the same page to unite against the cankerworm of corruption through collective action; representatives of the civil society, labour, media and other important stakeholders after an extensive deliberation hereby adopt the following resolutions and recommend as follows:

  1. Collaboration between media and CSOs can cover the gap in informing the masses.
    Working in a partnership will make the fight against corruption stronger, creating more impact.
  2. CSOs should invite media organisations with adequate timing and brief reporters on the background of the issues so they may report them in the public’s interest.
  3. NGOS and media Organisation’s to jointly establish a recognition and award programme for integrity, whistleblower and investigative journalism.
  4. Media and CSOs to set agenda for mass orientation on ills of bribery and corruption to the society, economy and lives of individual citizens.
  5. Participants to establish a clearing house for operators of whistleblower platforms and providers of support to victims of reprisal attack for partnership and optimum impact.
  6. Participants and others to initiate capacity building project for media organisation in investigative journalism to strengten the fight against corruption.

The above will in no little way serve as a panacea for an improved performance. The organizations resolved unanimously to forge a working collaboration across board. The meeting identified the need for greater level of cooperation among the organizations as a strategy to enhance performance among NGOs and CSOs working for transparency and accountability in governance and service delivery.

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