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EU top court defends freedom of finance journalists

The Court of Justice of the European Union issued a judgment Tuesday defending the freedom of journalists to share inside information with sources for upcoming articles about companies listed on the stock exchange.

The court said journalists may disclose inside information to sources before the publication of an article as long as it is deemed necessary and proportionate to their news-gathering.

“The disclosure of inside information by a journalist is lawful only where it is regarded as being necessary for the exercise of his or her profession and as complying with the principle of proportionality,” the court’s press release reads.

The Court of Appeal of Paris had requested a preliminary ruling from the European judges on the case of former Daily Mail journalist Geoff Foster, who was fined in 2018 by France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers for allegedly sharing information about market rumors with his contacts.

According to the European court, journalists can share market-sensitive information with sources only if it has been done in the framework of their journalistic work — for example, to verify rumors. They must respect the principle of proportionality, balancing the impact on freedom of the press if such a disclosure was prohibited with the harm that such a disclosure might cause to the integrity of the financial markets.

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