The European Parliament is currently considering a law that has the potential to inhibit European whistleblowers and the publications they work with. The proposed European Trade Secrets directive aims to prevent industrial espionage by enforcing protections for “trade secrets” across the Union.
Unfortunately, this proposed law has major ramifications for whistleblowers: companies would be able to restrict access to information they consider to be their trade secrets, exposing those who ‘misappropriate’ that information to civil or criminal penalties. It risks putting all potential truthtellers in the position of those whistleblowers in the banking industry who, like Rudolf Elmer, have been prosecuted relentlessly under national secrecy laws – as well as risking the newspapers that publish them too.
A Europe-wide campaign to #stoptradesecrets is being launched today with an open letter signed by journalists, activists and trade unionists from across the continent. Courage’s Director Sarah Harrison and WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, who is a trustee of Courage, are among the first signatories of this letter, which has been published in Le Monde in France, Taz in Germany, El Pais in Spain and Ta Nea in Greece today.
Courage Director Sarah Harrison has also given an interview to Taz, explaining why the Directive is so problematic.