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    Colin Fox - Scottish Socialist Party

    New EU Directive on ‘Trade Secrets’ Inhibits Freedom of Speech, Press

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    Colin Fox, the leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, said a new EU proposal prohibiting publication of trade secrets of large corporations is not in the public interest.

    EDINBURGH (Sputnik), Mark Hirst – A proposed new EU directive aimed at prohibiting publication of so-called trade secrets of large corporations is not in the public interest and will prevent the exposure of corruption, Colin Fox, the leader of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) told Sputnik Friday.

    “The SSP is very concerned that directives like the Trade Secrets and Confidential Business Information together with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will inhibit freedom of speech and freedom of the press particularly in regards to holding big business to account and exposing its wrongdoing,” Fox said.

    The implementation of the new directive, which is expected to be passed by the European Parliament, has been a major objective for US companies doing business within Europe and will bring EU legislation in line with that already operating in the United States. There is no clear exemption for journalists or whistle-blowers who try to expose corruption or misconduct, the SSP leader added.

    “In recent years there have been many corporations caught with 'their fingers in the till' on an enormous scale — ENRON, the Libor scandal and the misselling of Payment Protection Insurance readily spring to mind,” he noted.

    Fox went on to add that there needed to be a “democratic overhaul” of the EU’s structures to enable it to serve Europe’s five hundred million population and not the “corporate elite”.

    Yuklan Wong, a Campaigns Officer with the European Federation of Journalists, told Sputnik her organization was unable to launch a legal challenge to the directive as it had not yet been passed in to law.

    “One of the possible outcome will be that journalists will impose self-censorship to avoid any legal lawsuit against them,” Wong said.

    She said yes, answering the question, if the directive was another example of the EU bowing to pressure from the United States to adopt laws it would not voluntarily adopt.

    A number of workers’ trade unions, health organizations and freedom of speech bodies have voiced their opposition to the directive. The directive’s rapporteur has dismissed the concerns, arguing it will simply give a legal framework for all member states to operate within.

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