An agreement was reached on Tuesday 15 December between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the controversial draft Trade Secrets Directive. Despite sometimes tough debates, the final text hopefully includes exceptions for exercising the right to freedom of expression and information, but journalists and media associations will remain vigilant. Respect judicial independence in cases of two leading journalists in Serbia and Montenegro, RSF says Help by sharing this information Organisation RSF_en December 17, 2015 – Updated on March 8, 2016 RSF and media freedom organisations hail changes to trade secrets directive Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European Magazine Media Association (EMMA), the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU – UER) take note of the generally satisfactory amendments made to the initial draft Directive on Trade Secrets. However, whereas it aims at protecting businesses from industrial espionage, the newly adopted Directive could still have significant implications for media freedom if the safeguards put in place are not properly implemented. The text, which has been under intense discussions between the EU institutions (Parliament, Commission and Council) over the last months is now 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. The co-signatory associations are happy to see that the initial wording requiring journalists to make “legitimate use of the right to freedom of expression…” has eventually been 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.Finally, the text also foresees an exception for whistleblowers providing that the Directive does not apply insofar as the trade secret was acquired, used or disclosed “for the purpose of revealing a misconduct, wrongdoing or illegal activity” and that the respondent revealed this information “for the purpose of protecting the general public interest”. This version of the draft Directive has yet to be approved by the Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council of the EU. It should then be voted by the European Parliament in the spring 2016. EMMA, ENPA, the EFJ, RSF and EBU will be paying close attention to how EU Member States transpose this European Directive in order to make sure it does not lead to further restrictions on media freedom. Europe – Central Asia “We’ll hold Ilham Aliyev personally responsible if anything happens to this blogger in France” RSF says News Receive email alerts News June 7, 2021 Find out more RSF calls for a fully transparent investigation after mine kills two journalists in Azerbaijan June 8, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Europe – Central Asia June 4, 2021 Find out more Europe – Central Asia News News to go further
RapidEye/iStock(PHILADELPHIA) — Six men have been charged in connection with one of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history this week at the port of Philadelphia, where nearly 17 tons of cocaine with a street value of more than $1 billion was confiscated.None of the men are U.S. citizens and all have been charged with one count of knowingly conspiring to posses cocaine abroad a vessel in a U.S. jurisdiction, which carries the possible sentence of up to life in prison if convicted, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania William McSwain told reporters Friday.“To those who were aboard the ship, and are now in federal custody, I say this: You thought you could breeze into our port and then leave with enough cocaine to destroy millions of lives without getting caught,” he said. “You thought you were clever. You were wrong.”McSwain said that the case was “a prime example of why this country needs strong border protection.”“We must do everything we can to dismantle international drug trafficking organizations who destroy the lives of those who are addicted to drugs,” he said. “That begins with strong border protection and ends with aggressive prosecution of those who seek to profit from peddling poison.”The MSC Gayane ship, which was the length of three football fields and operated under the flag of Liberia, was escorted into the Philadelphia port after “anomalies” were detected in several of its containers. Further inspections involving fiber-optic scopes, narcotic-detector dogs and an X-ray scanner led to the discovery of 15,000 bricks of cocaine, weighing a total of about 35,000 pounds, officials said at the news conference.“Laid end to end, all the bricks cover a distance of about two and a half miles,” said Casey Durst of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Really, it’s just incredible.”McSwain emphasized that he was limited in what he could say “at this early stage in the investigation.”“We’re not going to get into the details of how the cocaine got onto the boat and what the plans were,” he said.According to a criminal complaint filed on Tuesday, the MSC Gayne’s second mate told investigators that he was told by the ship’s chief officer to come down to the deck after the ship departed Peru. He said he saw nets near the ship’s crane that contained bags with handles, and that he and four others had hoisted the bags onto the ship and loaded them into containers. He said he had been promised $50,000 for the job, according to the complaint.Another crew member also told authorities that he assisted in loading bales of cocaine that were brought alongside the ship by smaller boats both before and after they docked in Peru.By the time all the operations were complete, officials said, $1 billion worth of cocaine was secured, secreted and headed to Philadelphia, where it was ultimately seized and impounded.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.