Photo: Unsplash, eskay lim + composition
UK: New policy paper on countering legal intimidation and SLAPPs

Press-ECPMF

16 July 2021

No Comments

16 July 2021

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) supports a new policy paper by the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition, titled “Countering Legal Intimidation and SLAPPs”.

 

It is comprised of:

–  Background to the issue of legal intimidation and SLAPPs in the UK;

–  Principles for mitigating the threat of legal intimidation;

–  Approaches to countering legal intimidation and SLAPPs in the UK.

SLAPPs are abusive lawsuits pursued with the purpose of shutting down acts of public participation. These legal actions are directed against individuals and organisations – including journalists, media outlets, whistleblowers, activists, academics and NGOs – that speak out on matters of public interest. SLAPPs have been gaining wider recognition as an issue in several jurisdictions. However, there is also a significant concern regarding the ‘hidden problem’ of UK law firms sending threatening legal communication prior to any official filings, which can have a similar effect to SLAPPs. These legal threats are particularly effective when emanating from the UK, which is seen as a more plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction and where mounting a defence is a particularly costly and lengthy process.

 

The aim of this policy paper is threefold:

1. To provide an overview of the problem in the UK context;

2. To identify the key principles for mitigating the threat of legal intimidation and SLAPPs; and

3. To form a starting point for legislative and regulatory initiatives to address this issue in the UK.

The policy paper is supported by:

ARTICLE 19

Blueprint for Free Speech

Campaign for Freedom of  Information in Scotland 

Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice (affiliate)

The Daphne Foundation

English PEN

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

Foreign Policy Centre

Good Law Project

Guardian News and Media Ltd

Index on Censorship

Justice for Journalists Foundation

National Union of Journalists

PEN International 

Protect

Publish What You Pay UK (PWYPUK)

Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID)

Rory Peck Trust

Spotlight on Corruption 

Transparency International – UK

Whistleblowing International Network (WIN)

Find the full policy paper as well as an explanatory note to approaches to Countering Legal Intimidation and SLAPPs in the UK below.

Read news by categories:

Related news

Statement

MFRR partners welcome European Commission’s Recommendation on protection, safety and empowerment of journalists

The partner organisations in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) welcome the European Commission’s Recommendation on ensuring the protection, safety and empowerment of journalists and media professionals in the European Union, presented today.

READ MORE
Statement

MFRR: EU action needed to tackle spyware abuses after Pegasus revelations

As the European Parliament today debates the Pegasus spyware scandal, the undersigned partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) call for an immediate investigation into the alleged use of the spyware against journalists by Hungarian authorities and urge the strong implementation of new EU rules on the export of cyber-surveillance technology around the world.

READ MORE
Statement

Urgent solution needed as Slovenian Press Agency funding crisis passes 250 days

More than 250 days have now passed since the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) last received state funding for carrying out its public service mission from the government of Janez Janša, which currently presides over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

READ MORE
Statement

Slovenia: MFRR calls for firm response after storming of public broadcaster RTV

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its partners in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today strongly condemn the attack on the Slovenian public broadcaster RTV Slovenija (RTVS) by Covid-19 deniers and anti-vaccination protesters last Friday.

READ MORE
Jobs

Part-time Legal Assistant (f/m/d)

READ MORE
Jobs

Mitarbeiter*in Monitoring (w/m/d) / Monitoring Officer (f/m/d)

READ MORE