European Parliament proposal to tackle market manipulation puts journalists at risk

11 October 2012

European Parliament proposal to tackle market manipulation puts journalists at risk

The European Parliament Economic Affairs committee today voted in favour of proposals designed to tackle market manipulation. The SP is in full support of proposals to, for example, stamp out insider trading, but included in the existing proposed measures journalists are threatened with unjust arrest. ‘Journalists’ articles in, for example, a newspaper, which as a result of their being newsworthy prove profitable for the paper in question, would become, if this goes through, open to prosecution,’ explains SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. ‘Because of the Economic Affairs Committee’s sloppy work, journalists run the risk of finding themselves behind bars just for bringing the news to their readers.’

Dennis de JongDe Jong has written to the Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee and to the Committee’s Rapporteur on the proposal, Dutch Labour Member Emine Bozkurt, asking them to apply the brakes. ‘Before the European Parliament goes into negotiation with the European Commission, this botched job must be put right,’ he says. He sees legal difficulties with a number of points of the proposals. For example, in the future the full name of any person or persons who is found to have been guilty of insider trading must be made public. Under the legal conventions of the Netherlands and certain other EU member states only the initial of the surname of a condemned person is published. In his letter, De Jong suggests that the European Parliament legal services amend the proposal.

Earlier in the year Dennis de Jong wrote a report on behalf of the European Parliament on how the EU should proceed in relation to the criminal law. ‘My report “Limits to European Criminal Law” contained recommendations aimed at preventing a situation arising in which, through amateurism, matters concerning the criminal law were bungled,” he says. “The report was adopted by the Parliament with an overwhelming majority. Perhaps some Members should just read through it again.’

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