Ewropej: Freedom of expression ‘crucial in the EU’, Casa says 

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Member of the European Parliament David Casa has promised to work to ensure freedom of expression in Malta and the European Parliament. 

In view of the recent fake websites as part of the disinformation campaign, MEP Casa will continue working on measures which address disinformation as well as SLAPP lawsuits against journalists,” a spokesman for the MEP said. 

Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) are a form of retaliatory lawsuit intended to deter freedom of expression on matters of public interest. The European Convention on Human Rights establishes a positive obligation to safeguard the freedom of pluralist media and to ‘create a favourable environment for participation in public debate’ 

A study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs found that SLAPPs constitute a significant threat to the fulfilment of this obligation. 

“By restricting scrutiny of matters of public interest, whether of economic or political concern, SLAPPs also have a deleterious effect on the functioning of the internal market, as well as the rule of law in the European Union,” the study said. “However, while several jurisdictions outside the European Union have adopted antiSLAPP legislation, no Member State of the Union has yet done so. Nor has the Union itself yet adopted any legislation which would dissuade the institution of SLAPPs. There is therefore a significant gap in the integrity of the legal order of the Union,” it noted.

Casa’s spokesman also said that MEP Casa will continue to liaise with the European Commission’s directorate for Communication to organise the award ceremony for the Daphne Caruana Galizia prize for journalism. 

“MEP Casa has always been active calling for safeguards which will prohibit politicians from hiding the money they steal from the people. He will continue to work in the drafting of this legislation within Parliament’s structures,” he added. 

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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