AEJ – with the French section in the lead- was among the first organizations which warned that the new EU-directive for the protection of “trade secrets” will harm investigative journalism.
Despite some safeguards about press freedom – one of the basic values of the European Union- journalists will have to prove that the revelation of some information of a company lies in the public interest and that the informer acted legally.
Thus companies could sue journalists for publishing e.g. the amount of taxes they paid in a certain EU-state. Investigative articles -for example about “LuxLeaks” – already now in the center of judicial procedures against journalists like Edouard Perrin and whistleblowers- could be outlawed.
Read the full article by Otmar Lahodynsky, President of AEJ: “Why the new EU directive on trade secrets protection is a treat to media freedom”
William Horsley, AEJ Vice President and Media Freedom Representative, comments:
This directive creates serious obstacles to the necessary media scrutiny of powerful business and other interests. The directive may well be in breach of the EU’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
It smacks of hypocrisy for the EU to propose such legislation that lacks essential safeguards for media and the public interest in media scrutiny of economic interests, while publicly declaring its commitment to press freedom and going through the motions of seeking EU accession to the Council of Europe, so accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights for European Union laws and policies. We urge the European authorities to heed this and other warnings about this directive and correct your mistake now.