Whistleblower protection

We commit to promote whistleblowing on public interest violation by enhancing protection for whistleblowers with a system to allow them to have their cases reported by an attorney, by guaranteeing the recovery of their tarnished reputation, and by fostering positive image of whistleblowing.

Completion Status:

Commitment filtering:


This commitment is specific as it aims to strengthen the protection of public interest whistleblowers by introducing a vicarious reporting system through attorneys. Also, its goal is to introduce measures to maintain the reputation of public interest whistleblowers.


We can measure whether the reporting system and the reinforcement of protective measures for public interest whistleblowers has been introduced and whether it has a system to have their cases reported by an attorney, guaranteeing the recovery of their tarnished reputation and by fostering a positive image of whistleblowing.


The Act on the Protection of Public Interest Whistleblowers came into force on 30 September 2011 and is designed to protect individuals who report violations of the public interest to certain prescribed bodies (for example, their employer) if they suffer “disadvantageous measures”.1 On 18 October 2018, the ACRC amended the act to fundamentally prevent the leak of public interest whistleblowers’ personal information and has introduced the system of representative public interest reporting through counsel.2 In May 2019, the ACRC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Korean Bar Association for the facilitation of representative reporting through advisory attorneys, which sets out that there should be an advisory attorneys group and that the ACRC shall support those represented by attorneys with expenses incurred.3 According to this MoU, it is expected that anonymous public interest disclosures through advisory attorneys will be facilitated better as the attorneys can submit public interest reports without revealing the whistleblowers’ real names.2 To promote whistleblowing on public interest violation, the ACRC expanded the scope of public interest whistleblowing and reinforced punishment in cases where the identity of whistleblowers was revealed.4 In addition, they subsidised medical care for public interest whistleblowers,5 and implemented Whistleblower Day, by raising awareness and reinforcing their protection.5 They also improved the social perception of whistleblowers and are taking measures to foster a positive image of whistleblowing.6 On 20 November 2020, the revised Public Interest Whistleblower Protection Act came into force, with 182 newly added laws including the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Sexual Crimes and the Military Service Act that are critical and urgent to the existing 284 laws, the violation of which is deemed as a conduct detrimental to the public interest.7

Challenges to effective commitment implementation
The ACRC is making an effort to promote public interest whistleblowing, but some legislative changes need to pass through the National Assembly, which complicates the process.

Opportunities to accelerate commitment implementation
Use the IACC in December 2020 in Korea to further promote public interest whistleblowing.

Use the IACC in December 2020 in Korea to further promote public interest whistleblowing.

To facilitate public interest whistleblowing, widen its scope and promote more proactive policies.