- Don’t become a whistleblower

Lowell Bergman and Siemens whistleblower Per-Yngve Monsen presented their experiences.

By Hilde Marie Tvedten, 12.09.2008 12:17

Lowell Bergman worked in the CBS program 60 Minutes when he met the whistleblower that revealed several secrets on the tobacco industry. Economist Per-Yngve Monsen was working in Siemens when he raised his voice about what he thought was financial exploitation of the Norwegian Armed Forces.

The seminar named «How to find whistleblowers and make them talk» showed many sides of being and dealing with whistleblowers. Bergman formulated a general rule for how to make all sources talk.
- The most important thing is to listen to people. You have to put yourself in their shoes. The second thing is to be honest, and don’t make promises you don’t know if you can keep, Bergman said.
The film «The Insiders» with Al Pacino is based on the story of Bergman, who met Jeffrey Wigand in the tobacco company Phillip Morris. The tobacco company threatened with legal action against CBS, and the network decided not to publish the story. Bergman later went public with the story of his conflict with CBS after this decision.
- I also became a whistleblower myself. After exhausting all legal means, I felt that the rules changed, Bergman said.
Per-Yngve Monsen was fired from Siemens after going to the press about how the Norwegian Armed Forces probably paid too much to the company. He had difficulties getting a job after he was fired, and now wishes to put the whole experience of being a whistleblower behind him.
- I sometimes think about that I shouldn’t have done this. I have suffered personally, and I am afraid that it is doing something to me, that it has consequences mentally, Monsen stated.
- I don’t recommend to become a whistleblower, Lowell Bergman replied.