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World’s first-ever digital whistleblowing survey comes to Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan

The survey is anonymous and open to everyone! https://whistleblowingsurvey.org

The sound and fury around whistleblowing has been deafening of late, between the trial proceedings of U.S. Private Bradley Manning and leaks allegedly coming from the White House about the Stuxnet computer worm and drone targeted killings.

Supporters of whistleblowing place it firmly as one of the most important pillars of resilient government integrity systems. They argue that if you want governments to be free of corruption or even just simple wrongdoing, you need strong protection for whistleblowers. Critics say it’s just another mechanism for bureaucrats and policy makers to complain about decisions they don’t like.

Our new international study is the first to gauge the general public’s view on whistleblowing in an online, multi-language format. The 15-minute survey is open to everyone in all countries regardless of whether they have blown the whistle nor not.

The first (English) edition of the World Online Whistleblowing Survey (WOWS) launched in Brisbane, Australia recently, and with NewEurasia’s help, is now available in Russian, Kyrgyz and (I’m quite proud to say) Turkmen!

The survey is part of three-year study by academic researchers from Griffith University, The University of Melbourne and Georgetown University.

Stage 1 of the quantitative data part of the study involved a general population poll (stratified national random sample) of 1,211 Australians aged 18-64 in May 2012. The stage 1 results were surprising:

  • Half of all Australians believe too much information is kept secret in organisations in society (50%), while the remainder were split between those who think about the right amount of information was kept secret (26%) and a smaller number who thought not enough is kept secret (7%). 18% couldn’t say.
  • Australians overwhelmingly considered it more important to support whistleblowers for revealing serious wrongdoing, even if they reveal inside information (81%), than to punish them for it (9%). 10% were unable to say.
  • A similar number considered it acceptable for someone to blow the whistle on people in charge of an organization (82%), with reduced but still strong majorities considering it acceptable to reveal wrongdoing by other staff or workers (77%) or by a family member or friend (60%).
  • 80% said that if they observed wrongdoing, they would feel personally obliged to report it to someone in their organization.
  • A majority of Australians (56%) think the most effective way to stop serious wrongdoing is to report it to people in authority via official channels, but a very large majority (87%) also believe whistleblowers should be able to use the media to draw attention to wrongdoing — whether when need arises or as a first option (41%) or as a last resort (46%).
  • The poll also revealed a large gap between citizens’ personal values and expectations, and the current Australian organizational and legal standards toward whistleblowing. It showed:

  • Only about half of employees or organization members (55%) polled are confident that something appropriate would actually be done about wrongdoing if they reported it, with even fewer (49%) seeing their management as serious about protecting people who report wrongdoing
  • Despite the strong support for whistleblowing, only 53% of adults see it as ‘generally acceptable’ in Australian society for people to speak up about serious wrongdoing if it means revealing inside information.
  • Stage 2 of the study is the World Online Whistleblowing Survey. On 30 July, WOWS launched in several further languages, including German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Kyrgyz; Turkmen and other languages have been added since then. This will allow comparison of different countries and cultures’ views on whistleblowing.

    It’s important that Central Asians contribute! Your region has a highly unique mediascape and your answers would deeply enrich our results.

    The survey is anonymous and open to everyone, not just whistleblowers.

    The directions are on the website for linking. The results of the study should be out in 2013. Spread the word!

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