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Fearless speech will help reshape whistleblowing law

It is most fitting that a new whistleblowing research charity takes its name ‘Parrhesia’ from the moral concept that underpins its aims and objectives. Parrhesia is the Classical Greek principle of guaranteeing protection to those who speak the truth. It translates as ‘Fearless Speech’.

Parrhesia brings together experts in academia, policy, and practice to make sure protection for whistleblowers is evidence led, and best practice is shared. The intention is to turn the current name from Parrhesia Inc into The Parrhesia Institute (Pi) once the strict requirements for use of the institute title can be met in the near future. Parrhesia will provide a forum for informed discussion and the collation of reliable information surrounding whistleblower practice and protection.

I went about setting up Parrhesia because I realised that there isn’t one single place people could go to find out what is happening in the world of whistleblowing; and discuss developments and current events. As the COVID Crisis has shown, politicians and policy makers need reliable evidence based on sound research by dedicated experts to help determine the best way forward on critical issues that affect all of society. This applies to whistleblowing just as much as a pandemic.

So, we have formed an Academic Council, consisting of some of the leading experts and a Policy Advisory Group – made up from the major experienced stakeholders across the UK. We are delighted that PROTECT have agreed to join our Policy Advisory Group to bring their wealth of experience and knowledge in supporting and advising whistleblowers and help us steer the policy makers to provide proper protection to those Vulnerable who speak the Truth to the Powerful. With a UK bill looking at changing employment law in the UK it is a crucial time for UK whistleblowers. Together, I hope we can resurrect the principle of Parrhesia and embed it in British law going forward.

Ian Foxley, the whistleblower behind the Airbus-GPT corruption scandal in Saudi Arabia on his new whistleblowing  research charity Parrhesia

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