Trade Secrets Directive text adopted by the European Parliament’s JURI committee
The draft version of the Trade Secrets Directive, negotiated in December by the Parliament and the Council, was adopted by the European Parliament’s JURI committee on 28 January.
Under the new rules Member States shall provide more far-reaching protection against the unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of trade secrets. MEPs stressed the need to ensure that the legislation does not limit media freedom and pluralism or restrict the work of journalists, especially in the field of investigations and the protection of sources. After intense debate, the final text agreed improves legal certainty as regards the exception for exercising the right to freedom of expression and information.
The text, which has been under intense discussions between the EU institutions over the last months has now been amended in a way that whenever "the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and information as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of EU, including respect for freedom and pluralism of the media” is made, this Directive does not apply. EMMA, together with other European journalists, press and media associations (ENPA, IFJ, RSF, and EBU - see press release) are happy to see that the initial wording proposed requiring journalists to make “legitimate use of the right to freedom of expression…” was rejected. Such a wording would have set a very dangerous precedent for media freedom in Europe. In these circumstances, they would have had to justify the exercise of their right, leading ultimately to self-censorship as soon as they are investigating industrial and corporate affairs. Media and journalist associations remain vigilant, however, as there could be significant implications for media freedom if the safeguards put in place are not properly implemented.
The text will be voted by the Plenary in April. It also needs to be endorsed by the Council of the European Union. EMMA, and other journalists and media associations will subsequently be paying close attention to how EU Member States transpose the Directive in order to make sure it does not lead to further restrictions on media freedom.
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The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats.www.magazinemedia.eu
The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 16 national associations across 13 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.www.enpa.eu