Coalition aims to outlaw SLAPPs in Europe

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09 April 2021

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Coalition aims to outlaw SLAPPs in Europe

CASE is a coalition of civil society from across Europe representing a range of organisations acting in the public interest who are united in recognition of the threat posed to their work by Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), abusive lawsuits designed to silence critical speech. The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom is a member of the Coalition and campaigns actively against SLAPPs.

CASE, the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe, was officially launched on 27 March 2021 with an online panel event highlighting SLAPP victims representing different public watchdogs.

At the launch event, Maltese investigative journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia – whose mother Daphne was murdered with a car bomb because of her reporting – commented:

“It’s painful to think that if my mother hadn’t been assassinated, much of her life would have been spent in court fighting lawsuits”

He explained in a video how rich and powerful people in Malta abused the laws to try to silence critical journalism exposing alleged corruption.

Another powerful message against SLAPPs was presented by the oil industry whistleblower Jonathan Taylor. And the team from Atlas of Hate explained the importance of their work in mapping legal actions targeting the LGBTQI community in Poland.

Support from EC Vice-President

In her keynote address, European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vēra Jourovà welcomed the new initiative. Afterwards she tweeted her support:

CASE already has more than 30 member organisations and is open to more. The website will serve as a repository of materials to assist public watchdogs in responding to legal attacks, host research CASE is conducting on legal intimidation and other data, and map out legal services and pro bono lawyers available across Europe.

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