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Welcome to an ABC for Danish whistleblowers

Is there anything special about Danish whistleblowers? The answer, as you may have expected, since it is typical for the whole whistleblower dilemma, is both a YES and a NO.

No, we are nothing special, compared to other whistleblowers. Just people who, from an ethical or conscientious feeling, have stood up against something we could no longer accept, despite opposition from our organisations.

But yes, there is something special about us, because the Danish political and administrative system is infamous for its atmosphere of secrecy.

Maybe it goes back to Hamlet's "something rotten in the State of Denmark"? But cleverer people than us have analyzed the paradox of Danish secrecy, especially ironic compared to neighbour Sweden's openness, and you can read more in the book named below.

Here is an extract:

Danish whistleblower protection at odds with Sweden

The public's right to know: Professor Tim Knudsen says Denmark could borrow a page from Sweden in devising better laws to protect public servants who disclose information in the public's interest.

The case of former Defence Intelligence Service (FE) analyst and "Iraq whistleblower" Maj. Frank Søholm Grevil has dominated Danish headlines in recent days, and revived the debate over Denmark's tradition of political secrecy. Denmark's penchant for official concealment contrasts sharply with the transparency of Sweden's celebrated public system. But just what is the Swedes' secret for political openness--and why can't we do the same here at home?

In his book "Disclosure in the Public Sector," Copenhagen University Professor Tim Knudsen examined the differences between the Danish and Swedish political systems.

"In sum, it is clear that Danish disclosure legislation is racked by a host of problems and limitations, in contrast to the Swedish tradition," Knudsen told Ritzau news bureau this week.

Sergio / 05-10-2005



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