IATE Term of the week: Whistleblowing


WhistleblowingToday (December 9th) is the United Nations’ (UN) International Anti-Corruption Day. A date marked by raising awareness of corruption and demonstrating what people can do to fight it.

Corruption is defined by the UN as “a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune. This year UN’s Anti-Corruption global campaign focuses on how this phenomenon affects education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development.”

Our IATE term of the week is whistleblowing, which is a possible way of disclosing corruption for instance, though often considered controversial.

According to the West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2, whistleblowing is “The disclosure by a person, usually an employee in a government agency or private enterprise, to the public or to those in authority, of mismanagement, corruption, illegality, or some other wrongdoing.”

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The term whistle-blower comes from the practice of British and American police officers, who blew whistles to warn about any infringement. And it happens as well on the pitch! Referees use their whistles constantly to indicate any illegal or foul play during football matches and other sports games.

But we have to be careful about how to use this term because whistle-blower can be associated with words with negative connotations such as “informers” and “snitches”. Had you heard about this term before? Is there any term in your language to describe this anti-corruption action? We look forward to hearing from you!

You can learn more about the topic by cheking the animated Anti-Corruption glossary of Transparency International.

[su_note note_color=”#dcea0f”][su_button url=”https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1pbzprdhleby42xk7YxMtzA4zIXY98RtvrGq0CZr1UnM/edit#” style=”flat”]Contribute to IATE![/su_button] Update this term in your language. A terminologist for the respective language will revise your answer and decide whether to validate them. Given the implications of the process, a delay is to be expected.


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Written by Ana Baudot – Journalist and Social media manager.
Communication Trainee, DG TRAD – Terminology Coordination Unit