EU Directive on trade secrets may jeopardise future of investigative journalism in Europe

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Brussels, 27 November 2015

The draft EU directive on trade secrets, which was proposed by the Commission in 2013 and is currently under “trialogue” discussions between the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament, has again come under fire.

In an opinion piece posted by Utgivarna, a public interest organization for journalistic media companies in Sweden, the signatories claim that “if the proposal is adopted, it will affect the ability of media companies to pursue free and investigative journalism in equal measure.”

While the directive aims to provide remedies and sanctions against the acquisition, use and disclosure of trade secrets, there are wider ramifications that could impact press freedom in Europe if appropriate exceptions are not foreseen. Currently, the language in the draft directive could lead to legal uncertainty for journalists, which, as explained in the article, “allows private enterprises’ interests to take precedence over free and independent journalism. Moreover, it gives powerful international companies still greater legal means to prevent independent scrutiny by journalists.”

EMMA also highlighted these concerns last month in an open letter with Reporters Without Borders, the European Federation of Journalists, the European Broadcasters Union, and the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association. At that time we called for a clear and explicit exception for journalists in the directive in order to protect independent journalism across Europe. Today, we would like to reiterate this position, joining Utgivarna in asking for a clear exception for journalists and journalism in order to protect the freedom of the press and safeguard journalism in Europe.


EU Directive on trade secrets may jeopardise future of investigative journalism in Europe from EMMA - European Magazine Media on Wibbitz.


For further information contact:

Karin Fleming
EMMA Communications Manager


+32 2 536 0607