MEPs David Casa and Ramona Strugariu have sounded alarm bells on the rising trends of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) happening against the backdrop of negotiations on an anti-SLAPP Directive.
The Co-chairs of the Media Working Group were reacting to the publication of a new report by the CASE Coalition of media freedom organisations, who have documented a steady trend in court proceedings abused to silence journalists.
“Forum shopping, lax legal procedures and a system favouring those with deeper pockets is eroding our free press”, the argued. Casa an Strugariu added that the anti-SLAPP law would set a minimum standard across the EU to prevent Member States with inadequate laws from posing a litigious loophole to be weaponised against journalists Europewide.
“Today’s report shows that our campaign against SLAPPs can only go so far. There are many bad actors, including governments, who will go after journalists as long as the law places more value on lengthy and expensive proceedings than on factual reporting in the public interest”, the MEPs added.
According to the report, Poland and Malta topped the list of anti-reporting proceedings. Both have come under scrutiny for their problematic rule of law systems and would therefore benefit the most from a stronger anti-SLAPP law.