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INTERNATIONAL FINAL CONFERENCE

WHISTLING AT THE FAKE: THE CRUCIAL ROLE OF WHISTLEBLOWERS IN COUNTERING DISINFORMATION

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 INTERNATIONAL FINAL CONFERENCE 

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The International Final Conference of the project “Whistling at the Fake: The Crucial Role of Whistleblowers in Countering Disinformation,” which follows several months of work, research, and collaboration in the area of mal/mis/disinformation and whistleblowing, represents an important conclusive moment of reflection on the critical issues that have been considered during the course of the project activities.

 
During the event, a series of terrific panelists illustrate and discuss cases of hostile and misleading information as well as the crucial role that whistleblowers play in countering such phenomena. Also, the event offers the unique opportunity to listen to and learn from the opinions expressed by several amazing whistleblowers, who had the courage of fighting disinformation unveiling the truth.

 

The international final conference is an online (Zoom) 2-day event:

DAY 1 - 5th of May 2022 from 2:15 pm British Summer Time:
Register for free to attend the first day of the conference at:

https://mmu-ac-uk.zoom.us/.../WN_PyrPH1glQ7WftOzJrEWPDQ


DAY 2 - 6th of May 2022 from 2:10 pm British Summer Time:
Register for free to attend the second day of the conference at: 

https://mmu-ac-uk.zoom.us/.../WN_K5SQLjwkQqyKjwcCoelVcQ

 CONFERENCE PROGRAM 

 DAY 1 - 5TH OF MAY 2022 

Day 1 - Opening Session - 5th of May 2022, 2:15-2:45 pm (BST)

Prof. Andrew Francis

Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Business and Law and Dean of Manchester Law School at The Manchester Metropolitan University.

Dr. Costantino Grasso

Project Principal Investigator, Associate Professor in Law at The Manchester Metropolitan University.

Day 1 - Panel 1 - 5th of May 2022, 2:45-3:45 pm (BST)

Whistleblowers as gatekeepers of the truth in the age of disinformation

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Chair - Prof. Diane Ring

Diane Ring currently serves as the Interim Dean of Faculty, Professor of Law and the Dr. Thomas F. Carney Distinguished Scholar at Boston College Law. She researches and writes primarily in the field of international taxation, corporate taxation, and ethical issues in tax practice. Her recent work addresses issues including information exchange, tax leaks, international tax relations, sharing economy and human equity transactions, and ethics in international tax. Diane was a consultant for the United Nation’s 2014 project on tax base protection for developing countries, and the U.N.'s 2013 project on treaty administration for developing countries.

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Dawn Wooten
“Disinformation affecting society’s most vulnerable individuals”

Dawn Wooten, LPN, is a whistleblower whose commitment to medical ethics led her to speak out and demand justice and dignity for immigrant women detained by the U.S. government. While working at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC), a private prison that housed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees in Ocilla, Georgia, Wooten witnessed unsafe work practices and a lack of medical care that led to the spread of COVID-19 within the facility and in the larger community.

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Samantha Feinstein
“Disinformation and whistleblowing in the public sector: a reflection on the project outcomes”

Samantha Feinstein is a Staff Attorney and Director of the International Program at the Government Accountability Project.  She develops and advances private sector whistleblower-rights legislation; represents public, private, and international whistleblower clients; and conducts research, training, advocacy, and public education for the international program. Ms. Feinstein is co-author of the Government Accountability Project and International Bar Association joint report "Are Whistleblower Laws Working? A Global Study of Whistleblower Protection Litigation," published in March 2021. She also authored several other articles, chapters, and blog posts.

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Mary Inman
“Disinformation and whistleblowing in the private sector: a reflection on the project outcomes”

Mary Inman is a partner in Constantine Cannon’s London Office. After 20+ years representing whistleblowers in the U.S., she moved to London in 2017 to launch the firm’s international whistleblower practice. She specializes in representing whistleblowers worldwide under American reward programs. Her efforts on behalf of British whistleblower Andrew Patrick were featured in a recent New York Times article. Her successful representation of three whistleblowers exposing fraud in the Medicare Advantage program was featured in a recent New Yorker magazine article.

Day 1 - Panel 2 - 5th of May 2022, 4:00-5:10 pm (BST)

Disinformation in times of crisis

Day 1 - Panel 3 - 5th of May 2022, 5:25-6:15 pm (BST)

Disinformation and the Corporate World

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Chair - Stephen Holden

Stephen Holden is Senior Research Assistant for the Project "Whistling at the Fake" and he is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Law School of Manchester Metropolitan University. His research has a specific focus on empowering whistleblowing. He has also served as Research Assistant for the EU-funded project VIRTEU - Vat fraud: Interdisciplinary Research on Tax crimes in the European Union (Grant Agreement no: 878619). Having achieved an LLB (Hons) from the University of Lincoln, Stephen went on to complete a master’s degree in Law and Human Rights at Distinction level from the University of Kent. Stephen has extensive experience working within the public sector, including developing care pathways for mental health and elective care, and project management on a regional level within the NHS.

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Cleander Yu
“A lesson from Cambridge Analytica: How to avoid the social media trap?”

Cleander Yu is a National Committee on Accreditation candidate with the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, having recently achieved the LLM from Coventry University where he was awarded the Course Tutor's Prize for Overall Academic Achievement. In addition to contributing to the CSR and Business Ethics blog, Cleander takes particular interest in the ways law and policy operate within the spheres of business and human rights.

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Bianca Maria Oprea
“Corporate disinformation and the environment: the Volkswagen emissions scandal”

Bianca Maria Oprea is a Labour and Social Relations Specialist at ENGIE Romania. She is responsible for maintaining the social dialogue with the trade unions and dealing with collective labor agreements and labor law matters. Bianca developed an interest for Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics during her LLM studies at Coventry University in the United Kingdom, where she received a distinction mark for her dissertation in the area of corporate crime.

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Celia Mokhtari
“Suppression of information to cover corporate harmful operations: The Takata case”

Originally from France, Celia Mokhtari holds a bachelor’s degree in law from Aix-Marseille University and an LLM in International Business from Coventry University. She is currently undertaking the LPC in the United Kingdom, is a Contributor to the CSR and Business Ethics blog, and has a particular focus on International Law and Human Rights. 

Day 1 - Conclusive Remarks - 5th of May 2022, 6:15-6:30 pm (BST)

 DAY 2 - 6TH OF MAY 2022 

Day 2 - Introduction - 6th of May 2022, 2:10-2:15 pm (BST)

Day 2 - Panel 1 - 6th of May 2022, 2:15-3:25 pm (BST)

Disinformation, Scientific Integrity, and Whistleblowing

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Chair - Dr. Laure Ognois 

Laure has been the Director of Research Services at the University of Geneva since 2014. She was the Director of International Affairs at the German University of Administrative Sciences (GUAS) from 2009 to 2014. She holds a double degree in Modern History from Tübingen University and Aix-en Provence University as well as a Ph.D. in Modern Swiss History from Tübingen University. She also holds a Master in Public Administration with a focus on Science Management from the German University of Administrative Sciences. She is a member of the LERU research community and a member of the steering committee of the LERU research integrity community. She has been Vice-president of the Ethics University Commission for Research at UNIGE and is an evaluator for the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

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Dr. Virginia Burkett
“Silence over science: Unethical political interference in government science”

Virginia Burkett is Chief Scientist for Climate and Land Use Change at the U.S. Geological Survey.  She was USGS Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change (2015-2017) and Chair of the US Global Change Research Program (2017-2019).  She is an author of 80 publications on the topics of climate change and low-lying coasts, including four IPCC reports and three U.S. National Climate Assessments.  Burkett has served on over 70 Commissions, Science Panels, and Boards.  She is an Editor of the journal Regional Environmental Change.

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Dr. Babak Babakinejad
“Integrity and disinformation risks in elitist academic environments”

Babak Babakinejad holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Nanotechnology from Imperial College London, an MSc from the Institute of Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, and a BSc in Molecular Genetics from King’s College London. In his capacity as Research Scientist and Research Lead at MIT, he was a whistleblower with respect to public safety concerns and the lack of scientific integrity at MIT's Open Agriculture Initiative. He previously served as Research Ethics Committee expert member in the U.K. and worked at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard focusing on developing ultra-sensitive genomics technologies.

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Prof. Frits Rosendaal
“Whistleblowers as safeguards of scientific truth: The position of academic institutions”

Frits Rosendaal is a Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and chairman of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at the LUMC. His research is into the causes of cardiovascular disease. In 2003 he received the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in the Netherlands. He is elected fellow of the Royal Academy of Science and Arts, as well as of the German Academy Leopoldina. In 2011 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Paris Descartes. He is a member of the Committee on publication ethics (COPE), a member of the Research Integrity policy group of the LERU universities, and a co-chairman of the Scientific Integrity Committee of the University Leiden and the LUMC.

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Dr. Peter Doshi
“Improving the integrity of science: the role of investigative journalism”

Peter Doshi, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and a Senior Editor at The British Medical Journal. His research focuses on the drug approval process and improving the credibility and accuracy of evidence synthesis and biomedical publications. Doshi leads the Restoring Invisible and Abandoned Trials (RIAT) initiative, which aims to ensure clinical trial publications are accurate, and complete, and data are publicly available. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University and received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Dr. Dawn Carpenter
“The value of truth in science”

Dawn Carpenter teaches Finance at The Catholic University of America and is a Practitioner Fellow at the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University. Her work focuses on contributive justice theory as a moral foundation for business ethics. Dr. Carpenter earned her doctorate in Liberal Studies (Ethics) from Georgetown University and holds graduate degrees in Catholic theology, public finance, and political science. Dr. Carpenter, who is the host of the "What Does It Profit?" podcast, contributes to public engagement and visibility efforts to promote the insights and understanding gained during the project.

Day 2 - Panel 2 - 6th of May 2022, 3:35-4:35 pm (BST)

Whistleblowing and Disinformation: Exploring the Legal Challenges

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Chair - Prof. Maurizio Bianchini

Maurizio Bianchini is an Associate Professor of Business Law at the School of Law of the University of Padova, where he teaches Competition law, IP Law and Comparative Corporate and Business law. He is deputy director of the Master Degree in International Business Law and he is a Member of the Teaching Board of the PhD School in “International Law, Private Law and Labour Law.” He earned a Master of Laws at the New York University School of Law, and he holds a Diploma in English Law from the University of Kent. He has written numerous articles and two monographic works on business contracts and corporate law.

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Prof. Francesca Benatti
“The whisteblowing dilemma between ethics and law”

Francesca Benatti is an Associate Professor of Comparative Law at the School of Law of the University of Padova. She is a Member of the Teaching Board of the Ph.D. School in “International Law, Private Law and Labour Law” of the Università di Padova, and she serves as a Member of the College of the Doctorate Program “Persona e Mercato” of the Milan Catholic University. Her main areas of interest are Contract Law, Tort Law, Property Law, Chinese Law, Business Ethics, and Arbitration. She authored three monographs and several papers in different areas of comparative private law.

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Katherine Eban
“Dinesh Thakur: the perilous journey of a whistleblower”

Katherine Eban is an American investigative journalist and author. Her investigative work has focused on public health and homeland security issues. She is a contributor to Fortune magazine and Vanity Fair and writes for a variety of other national magazines. Her latest book and New York Times bestseller, Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom, is an investigation into the generic drug industry and exposes one of the most memorable frauds perpetrated by a giant pharmaceutical company, and the subsequent risks for patients’ health, in the U.S. and abroad.

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Prof. Silvia Bertocco
“Whistleblowing in the workplace: the Italian case”

Silvia Bertocco is an Associate Professor of Labour Law at the Law School of the University of Padova, where she also serves as Director of the Master in “International Business Law” and as Deputy-Director of the Department of Private Law and Critique of Law. She is a Member of Teaching Board of the PhD School in “International, Private, and Labour Law” at the same University. Her current main research interests are in the areas of Health and Safety in the Working Place, as well as of Right to Privacy and Employer’s Control Powers at the Work Place.

Day 2 - Panel 3 - 6th of May 2022, 4:40-5:10 pm (BST)

Poster Competition

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Chair - Prof. Mark James

Mark James is a Professor of Sports Law and Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at Manchester Law School, Manchester Metropolitan University. Mark is one of the UK’s leading sports law experts and has published extensively on the criminalization of football fans, and the evolution of the Olympic regulatory framework. His current work focuses on the legality of the secondary market in sports tickets and the regulation of athlete activism at major sports events. He is the author of the leading textbook, Sports Law, and an Editor of the Entertainment and Sports Law Journal.

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Benedetta Sartor - Poster Competition - First Prize Winner
"Fake news and social networks: an overview on the periods before and after the pandemic"

Benedetta Sartor graduated with honors from the University of Padua at the Faculty of Law in December 2021. Her interest in the world of social networks led her to the writing of a thesis project entitled "Social Network Society civil and criminal liability in the use of platforms." She is currently in charge of claims and damages management at Intesa San Paolo Vita.

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Demet Altunay - Poster Competition - Second Prize Winner
“Silenced Democracy”

Demet Altunay is a Master's degree student in Business Administration (Management curriculum) at the University of Padua, Italy. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Campus, as a high honor student. She is also a Contributor to the Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics Blog.

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Beatrice Sartori - Poster Competition - Third Prize Winner
“How disinformation can affect rating systems on platform workers”

Beatrice Sartori is a young professional who graduated from the School of Law at the University of Padova (Italy) in December 2021. She is currently working as a trainee lawyer at Mandro, Mason & Partners, located in Venice, where she is specializing particularly in labor and immigration law.

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Benedetta Barozzi - Poster Competition - Special Mention
“Whistling at contract secrecy in a pandemic scenario”

Benedetta Barozzi has recently graduated in Law at the University of Padua with a thesis in Commercial Law titled "Patent protection of Covid-19 vaccines and health emergency. Critical issues and ideas for the future", focusing on the relationship between patent protection and the right to health, with a look at the legal solutions to balance these conflicting rights. Involved in volunteer work for many years, she is currently the International Service Officer at Inner Wheel Club Conegliano - Vittorio Veneto.

Day 2 - Panel 3 - 6th of May 2022, 5:15-6:15 pm (BST)

Poster CompetitionInnovative Strategies for Countering Disinformation

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Chair - Dr. Donato Vozza

Donato Vozza is Lecturer in Criminal Law at the Faculty of Business and Law of University of Roehampton in London. Previously, he served as Research Associate in Financial Crime at the Centre for Financial and Corporate Integrity of Coventry University (UK). He participated in several international reserch projects including the EU Horizon 2020 Project PROTAX and the VIRTEU project funded by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). Donato also served as Associate Lawyer at Chiomenti International LLP where his foremost areas of expertise were corporate crime, business integrity, human rights, as well as international, transnational and European criminal law.

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Georgina Halford-Hall
"The Whistleblowing Bill: Protecting whistleblowers to counter disinformation"

Georgina Halford-Hall is Chief Executive of WhistleblowersUK, which is a not-for-profit organization that reinvests its surplus income to provide help, support, and information to whistleblowers, and Director of Strategy & Policy for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Whistleblowing, which was set up with the aim to provide stronger protection for whistleblowers. The APPG chair, Mary Robinson MP, presented The Whistleblowing Bill to Parliament on the 26th April 2022. This bill is both a tribute to all whistleblowers who have worked hard and risked so much to shine a light on wrongdoing, and a call to action for all organisations to take whistleblowing seriously for their benefit and societies.

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Brittany Nicole Kaiser
“Empowering Individuals Through Digital Intelligence Education”

Brittany Kaiser is the Co-Founder of the Own Your Data Foundation. She is also a Co-Founder of the Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA), a nonprofit lobbying firm advancing legislative reform protecting the rights of individuals to control their digital assets. She is the former business development director for Cambridge Analytica which collapsed after details of its misuse of Facebook data were revealed to have potentially impacted voting in the UK Brexit referendum and the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Louise Hisayasu
“Exploring misinformation: The Glass Room project”

Louise Hisayasu is a project coordinator on The Glass Room; dedicated to working with partners worldwide to host pop-up exhibitions. The Glass Room is a public intervention which aims to demystify technology through thought-provoking, immersive and creative exhibitions. Besides her work at Tactical Tech, she is an interdisciplinary researcher focusing on memory, archiving and Indigenous contemporary culture in Brazil.

Day 2 - Conclusive Remarks - 5th of May 2022, 6:15-6:30 pm (BST)

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Chair - Dr. Branislav Hock

Branislav Hock is a Senior Lecturer in Economic Crime at the University of Portsmouth. He is an author of Extraterritoriality and International Bribery: A Collective Action Perspective, Routledge 2020. Branislav has been involved in a broad range of research activities, many have been related to anti-corruption, transnational economic crime, and compliance. Branislav is the founding member of the European Compliance Center. He also worked for a law firm where he was advising on various compliance issues. Branislav worked as a researcher at the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC), where he completed a PhD in anticorruption law.

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Hélène Papper
“Disinformation as a silent/not so silent but deadly pandemic”

Hélène Papper is the Global Communications and Advocacy Director for the UN specialized agency and international financial institution, IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development. She is a conflict and post-conflict strategist and leader with extensive experience in the field of diplomacy, advocacy, and communications. She has dedicated her life to giving a voice to the most vulnerable communities. Working for the United Nations she set up radio stations in order to support the process of peace and reconciliation in several countries where she trained journalists and established protected spaces for dialogue based on ethics and inclusiveness.

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Dr. Pietro Maria Sabella
“Disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic: The Italian case”

Pietro Maria Sabella is Adjunct Assistant Professor in Criminal Law at Luiss University, he holds a PhD in Law and Business, with a thesis on the individual and corporate criminal liability for tax crimes. He is a member of the European Research Center on Tax Crimes and of the International Association of Penal Law (AIDP). His research focuses on corporate criminal liability, tax and financial crimes, but also cyberterrorism and hate crimes. He is Lawyer in Rome.

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Dr. Ammar Naji
“The Weaponization of Media Disinformation in the Yemen Crisis”

Ammar Naji is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Arabic at Colorado College.  He is also the advisor for the minor in Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.  He teaches courses on the study of global and world literature in relation to social activism and media studies, diaspora and immigrant writing from the Middle East and North Africa and comparative race studies. Some of his published works include: “The Unspoken Agenda of Houthi Digital Poetry in Yemen’s Current War Crisis" in Arab Media & Society, and "Stateless Confederations: Revolutions of Islamic Consciousness in the Arab World" in Islamism and Cultural Expression in the Arab World (Routledge 2015). 

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Goran Georgiev
“Disinformation during wartime: Focus on the invasion of Ukraine”

Goran Georgiev is an analyst at CSD’s Economic and Security Programs. He focuses on studying the impact of the Kremlin’s disinformation narratives on public perceptions and policy-making in Bulgaria and the wider Central and Eastern European region. To this end, he conducts data collection and analysis of relevant online content using numerous media monitoring, audience analysis, and data visualization tools. He serves as a disinformation expert in several initiatives aimed at countering Russia’s disinformation operations, including the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Beacon Project. 

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Dr. Eliana Lauretta
“Misperception of financial risk and market misinformation”

Eliana Lauretta is Assistant Professor in Finance at the School of Economics, Finance and Accounting (EFA) at Coventry University. Her research interests lies in the field of Finance-Growth Nexus, Money, Credit and Financial System, Financial Innovation, Environmental Sustainability and Banking System, Financial Crisis, Financial (in)stability and Business Cycle dynamics, Macroeconomics, and Behavioural Finance/Economics. Currently, Eliana, is the Principal Investigator of the PRiFIN project: Perception of Risk in the Financial System: An Interdisciplinary Research on the Perception-Belief-Behaviour (PBB) nexus.

Prof. Diane Ring

Interim Dean of Faculty, Professor of Law and the Dr. Thomas F. Carney Distinguished Scholar at Boston College Law.

Dr. Costantino Grasso

Project Principal Investigator, Associate Professor in Law at The Manchester Metropolitan University.

Prof. Diane Ring

Interim Dean of Faculty, Professor of Law and the Dr. Thomas F. Carney Distinguished Scholar at Boston College Law.