From France to Croatia, Malta to Italy, judicial harassment of journalists in the European Union is rising as more and more journalists are subjected to SLAPPs. Yes, they are called “SLAPPs”, Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. Like their acronym, they are slapped onto journalists, media houses, human rights defenders and other critics, to silence them, stop investigative research or squash political dissent.
SLAPPs was the theme of discussions at the European Parliament in Brussels, on 12 November 2019. Members of the European Parliament, David Casa, Stelios Kouloglu and Viola von Cramon joined the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and its partner human rights and press and media freedom organisations to delve deeper into the problem in an expert talk [concept note]. The meeting concluded with the crucial call to the European Union (EU) to find ways of preventing and limiting the use of SLAPPs to harass journalists. During the expert talk, speakers shared perspectives from their organisation’s experiences in dealing with SLAPPs. In case you missed it, here is a review of the key points and conclusions: