Nineteen organisations reiterate their support for Carole Cadwalladr as she faces SLAPP trial

ECPMF

14 January 2022

No Comments

The undersigned organisations reiterate their support for award-winning journalist and author, Carole Cadwalladr, who is facing a week-long defamation trial in London this week. Cadwalladr, who works for the Guardian Media Group in the UK, is being sued as an individual by millionaire businessman and political donor Arron Banks, best known for his role as co-founder of the 2016 Brexit campaign Leave.EU.

 

Banks originally filed four claims against Cadwalladr in July 2019, two of which he dropped in January 2020 after the judge found them to be “far-fetched and divorced from the specific context in which those words were used”. The remaining claims relate to Cadwalladr’s 2019 TED Talk, “Facebook’s Role in Brexit – and the Threat to Democracy” and a Twitter post linking to the TED Talk.

 

“When this lawsuit was filed more than two years ago, several organisations came together to call this legal action out as a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), aimed at intimidating and silencing Cadwalladr. We today reaffirm this characterisation and unreservedly reiterate our support for Cadwalladr as she continues to defend her public interest work,” the organisations said.

 

SLAPPs abuse the law in order to intimidate and silence public watchdogs from speaking out on matters of public interest. Banks is pursuing legal action against Cadwalladr as an individual, rather than pursuing her media outlet in which the contested claims were originally made. Due to the expensive nature of the process in England, Cadwalladr has had to raise funds for her legal defence through crowdfunding. She has so far raised more than half a million pounds.

 

“We, once again, urge the UK government to consider measures, including legislative reforms, that would protect journalists and others working in the public interest from being subject to abusive legal actions intended to stifle public debate,” the organisations concluded. “Our democracy relies on the ability to hold power to account.”

 

Representatives from several of the undersigned organisations will be in attendance at the High Court this week to monitor proceedings. 

Signed by:

Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

ARTICLE 19

Association of European Journalists

Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS)

Committee to Protect Journalists

English PEN

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

IFEX

Index on Censorship

International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ)

International Press Institute

Justice for Journalists Foundation

Mighty Earth

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)

PEN International

Society of Journalists

Spotlight on Corruption

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation

Whistleblowing International Network

Read news by categories:

Related news

Support

“The evidence of crimes done by the Russian forces will become the textbook of Ukraine’s recent history” – Interview with a Ukrainian Journalist in Residence.

As part of our ongoing series of interviews with JiR fellows, we interviewed a Ukrainian journalist who is now in exile in Leipzig.

READ MORE
Feature

Slovenia: Media freedom groups back legislative efforts to depoliticise public media

Reform aimed at limiting political interference over RTV SLO faces upcoming referendum challenge.

READ MORE
Statement

Albania: Media pluralism and transparency concerns fuel deterioration in media freedom

Following a two-day fact-finding mission to Tirana on 17-18 November 2022, the partners of the Council of Europe’s Platform on Safety of Journalists today publish their findings on press freedom, media pluralism and the safety of journalists in Albania.

READ MORE
Statement

Italy: a call of support for Roberto Saviano, defendant in a defamation trial

Members of the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), with the support of the coalition’s Italian group and Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), express solidarity with Roberto Saviano who attended the first hearing in the proceedings for aggravated defamation initiated against him by current Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

READ MORE
Statement

Bulgarian far-right party’s ‘foreign agent’ bill sparks media freedom concerns

Press freedom groups raise alarm that Bulgarian Foreign Agent law appears intended to target critical media.

READ MORE
Feature

Political pressure on journalists risks undermining media freedom progress in Kosovo

International media freedom and journalists organisations warn that while significant progress has been made in Kosovo, toxic rhetoric and smear campaigns against media, underfunding of public broadcaster and lack of transparency risk undermining the progress.

READ MORE