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by The Government Department of European WA Office. . 112 reads.

WA Office | Whistleblower Protection Act

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Privacy is an important right. People who work for the government have privacy rights in the same way normal citizens do. The vast majority of people who work for the government, being inferior officers thereof, take salaries and live peacefully. The provision in section 4, which indemnifies media outlets from punishment for 'the dissemination of financial information of a government official', is at best the World Assembly saying that 'if you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide'. At worst, it opens government workers to identity theft and harassment. Privacy rights are sometimes overridden by other important public interests. This should be judged on a case-by-case basis, not on blanket legislation which makes government workers' finances public knowledge.

Section 3 also is poorly written. Depending on how it could be read, it prohibits the media from publishing a person's personally identifying information (such as names) unless that person is party to a crime committed by a government official. This is a substantial limit on the freedom of the press: media outlets would no longer be able to report on crimes committed entirely by private individuals and unconnected to government action. This not only harms press freedom, but also the ability of the press to report on private misdeeds, meaning more unethical behaviour goes unreported, harming society writ large.

Or it might read that both whistleblowers and media outlets need publish to take such an action, which doesn't make sense, as whistleblowers do not publish: media outlets do. This dual-party interpretation then makes the provision more-or-less entirely inapplicable because whistleblowers are not publishers. The first interpretation (and its consequent impacts on press freedom) should therefore be preferred to one which effectively omits the entire clause.

Moreover, section 6(a)'s provision which bars seeking legal recourse prohibits the starting of a defamation lawsuit unless the statement was 'proven to be demonstrably false'. Note that 'proven' is in the past tense. Such a bar in effect closes off all recourse: to have something proven false in a court of law, it must first be proved before a judge, which cannot happen because 'seek[ing] legal recourse' is prohibited. Even governments have a right not to be lied about, destroying that right cannot be what was intended.

For these reasons, the WA Office recommends a vote against 'Whistleblower Protection Act'.

Primary author(s): Imperium Anglorum.

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Why was I tagged?!

Current policy emerged from the poll conducted here, which showed a majority supporting telegrams disseminating these messages to all residents. Internally, however, the Office compromised between telegrams which many in the region might find spammy, due to the default limitations of telegram mailboxes and oft-ignored RMB messages.

The above tags were generated automatically by InfoEurope.

You can opt out of tagging by sending a telegram to the Office's WA Secretary or the Undersecretary for Communications. Current staffing information is located in the "STAFF" tab at the top of this page.



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