Who is a Whistleblower?

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Whistleblower woman with target on her back

Whistleblowing is the act of drawing the public’s attention to corruption or any other lawlessness that took place, usually within a company. The term is referred to colloquially as ‘informa’ but the standard name for them is known as a whistleblower.

Publicly shunning a whistleblower is a cultural practice that seems to continue for generations, where the backlash that follows is sometimes more severe than the crime. This is not a good practice as oftentimes, it is to the demise of a person’s life and property.

This is evident in the recent scandal surrounding Facebook, where user information was passed on to data research firm Cambridge Analytics and misused to lobby persons to vote for Donald Trump. The whistleblower that revealed this information, had the public’s interest at heart, wanting others to be aware and cautious when using or providing information on this social media platform. As a result, shares in Facebook have plummeted, reflecting  that investors have lost confidence in the company. Whether temporary or not, Facebook Inc has taken a hit.

In 2012 a Protection Act was implemented in Jamaica to encourage a culture of whistleblowing. This would allow employees to disclose information about their employers or colleagues, if they have any reason to believe that misconduct occurred or will occur. Here, the identity of the person will be withheld, and the process sped up to allow for quick turnaround time. This therefore shows that the company must have efficient systems that allow for this culture to be adopted and staff members that are able to keep information among those who should know.

Jamaica has even implemented an anonymous tip hotline, Crime Stop, that secures the user’s phone number, to disclose any information about anyone they have suspected or know has conducted illegal activities.

Companies can discuss adding incentives for those persons who have spoken out about wrong doings and caused action to be taken, as a way of encouragement.

Stop the informa culture! Let us get in the habit of speaking up for the betterment of our people, companies and country!


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