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

Kosovo: Joint letter to the Prime Minister Albin Kurti on RTK appointment

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the Safe Journalists Network condemn the shocking physical attack on Albanian journalist Elvis Hila and his wife.

READ MORE
Statement

Albania: MFRR and Safe Journalist Network condemn attack on journalist Elvis Hila and his wife

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the Safe Journalists Network condemn the shocking physical attack on Albanian journalist Elvis Hila and his wife.

READ MORE
Feature

MFRR Summit 2023: Press Freedom on the Line

The MFRR Summit is back, and this year we’re holding our conference under the title of “Press Freedom on the Line” from 29 – 31 March 2023.

READ MORE
ECPMF

Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media – Call for Nominations

Every year, the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig awards its “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”, which is endowed with €20,000, to a distinguished journalist, publisher, or media institution.

READ MORE
Press release

Feindbild Journalist – Monitoring Lokaljournalismus

Together with the German Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers (BDZV), ECPMF has launched a new project to monitor attacks on local journalists titled “Feindbild Journalist – Monitoring Lokaljournalismus”.

READ MORE
Press release

IJ4EU fund opens new calls for cross-border investigative journalism

The Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) fund today, January 12, opened two new calls for cross-border investigative journalism projects in the European Union and EU candidate countries.

READ MORE