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

Turkey: Concern over proposals to introduce new regulation of “fake” and “foreign-funded” news

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and undersigned partner organisations are concerned about and condemn recent statements by Turkish President Erdoğan and other government officials pertaining to the introduction of new regulation of so-called fake news and “foreign-funded” news in the country.

READ MORE
Statement

Hungary: MFRR highly alarmed by Pegasus surveillance revelations

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) is highly alarmed by the revelations by a consortium led by French NGO Forbidden Stories about the surveillance of journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers and others through the Pegasus spyware program developed by Israeli company NSO Group.

READ MORE
SLAPP

UK: New policy paper on countering legal intimidation and SLAPPs

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".

READ MORE
Statement

Belarus: Joint call condemning raids on media and HRDs and demanding the release of those detained

READ MORE
Statement

Georgia: ECPMF saddened by death of Alexandr Lashkarava

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECMPF) is saddened by the death of Georgian TV camera operator Alexandr Lashkarava. Last week, far-right assailants severely beat him while he was covering attacks on LGBTQI+ activists in Tbilisi. A few days later, on 10 July, he was found dead at his home by his mother.

READ MORE
Statement

Albania: Concern after government ally elected to head key media regulator

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today expresses deep concern about the future impartiality and independence of Albania’s Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA) following the election of a close associate of the ruling Socialist Party to head the media regulator.

READ MORE