The law gagging press and whistleblowers buried within French economic growth bill

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French economy minister Emmanuel Macron on Monday introduced before parliament his bill of law for ‘growth and action’, a wide-ranging set of measures that include loosening Sunday trading rules, cutting red tape on construction activity and opening up closed professions like that of solicitors. Amendments to the bill, which is on a fast-track passage through parliament this week, have seen its original 106 articles rise to more than 200. Among them is a measure adopted in stealth and which aims to guarantee secrecy in business activity by making the revelation of confidential corporate information a crime. Mediapart economics correspondent Martine Orange argues here why the text of this amendment is so vague and potentially large in interpretation that it poses a serious danger for freedom of information, and for the press and whistleblowers in particular.

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It was late evening on Saturday January 17th when the special cross-party parliamentary commission in charge of studying the French government’s bill of law on ‘Growth and Activity and Equality of Economic Opportunities’ rushed through approval of several of the proposed law’s articles. The commission was in a hurry, for the next day it was to examine, in a timely coincidence, the bill’s proposition to free up regulations that currently limit Sunday trading activities.