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Take an extra care to protect whistleblower’s personal information


“Take an extra care to protect whistleblower’s personal information”

ACRC requests to all public organizations


July 11, 2017

Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission

The Republic of Korea


The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC, Chairperson Pak Un Jong) asked all agencies in charge of receiving public interest violation reports to take a special care to keep whistleblower’s identity confidential.

The ACRC announced on 11th of July that in response to a growing interest from the public in protection of public interest whistleblower, it sent an official document to all public interest violation reporting agencies, requesting an extra care not to expose whislteblowers’ identities while handling reports.

Between 2011, the enforcement year of the Act on the Protection of Public Interest Whistleblowers, and the first half of 2017, a total of 22,817 public interest violations were reported. The Act has played a crucial role in detection and prevention of corrupt acts that threaten public health and safety such as shoddy construction, sale of hazardous food, and polluting the environment.

For the purpose of promoting public interest whislblowing, the Act states that public interest violation can be reported not only to the ACRC but also to central administrative organizations, local government agencies, and public service-related agencies.

Under the law, disclosing whistleblower’s personal information or facts that can infer his or her identity will result in prison sentence of maximum three years or a fine of maximum 30 million won.

Recognizing that along with such a legal protection, the role of officer in charge of receiving reports of public interest violations is important to protecting whistleblowers, the ACRC requested 460 public interest reporting agencies to make their utmost efforts to prevent whistleblowers from suffering physical and psychological damages due to identity disclosure while their reports are being processed.

An official from the ACRC said, “Creating an environment where any one can blow the whistle without a fear of retaliation is a key to removing corruption in the private sector.” He added, “The ACRC will continue to strive to protect whistleblower’s personal information from the report-handling procedure.

Meanwhile, in order to bolster whistleblower protection, the Commission is planning to amend the Public Interest Whistleblower Protection Act to expand laws subject to public interest whistleblowing and the scope of mitigated liabilities for whistleblowers.