05 Jun 2018 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 26 Apr 2018 France
Corporate Secrets Bill Threatens Right to Information
The French Parliament is about to vote via an accelerated procedure a private member's bill on "the protection of know-how and undisclosed commercial information (corporate secrets) against unlawful collection, use and disclosure". This text is the transposition of the European directive on business secrecy, approved in 2016. On 16 April 2018, the journalists unions SNJ, SNJ-CGT and Journalists CFDT, as well as editors societies of many media outlets (Le Monde, Le Figaro, Les Echos, TV5 Monde, AFP, Radio France, RTL, Le Point, Liberation, TF1, Mediapart, L'Humanité) sent an open letter to the French President Emmanuel Macron, denouncing the bill that "calls into question the general interest and the right of citizens to information". The signatories criticized the particularly broad legal definition of "corporate secret" writing “In a company, any internal information can now be classified in this category. The law on corporate secret concerns information of general interest such as the tax practices of companies, the impact of their activities and products on health and the environment, and so on". The signatories asked President Macron to amend the draft law such that it only applies to economic competitors.
05 Jun 2018
Reply from the French Authorities (in French)