Scottish PEN joined 27 organisations calling on the EU to ensure that everyone who chooses to speak up and speak out is protected by any EU laws targeting Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). Read the letter to the European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourová that we co-signedJanuary 30, 2020
Scottish PEN joined 27 organisations calling on the EU to ensure that everyone who chooses to speak up and speak out is protected by any EU laws targeting Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). Here is the letter to the European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourová that we co-signed:
Dear Vice-President Jourová,
We are pleased to hear that you are preparing EU legislation to deter Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). We believe this is extremely important to safeguard freedom of expression, and advocacy and assembly rights in the EU, and would like to request a meeting with you to discuss our experiences and expectations. It is our strong view that the legislation must cover everybody who is affected by SLAPPs.
Some of the most striking examples include journalists, such as Maltese reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia, who had 47 SLAPPs pending against her at the time of her assassination. The award-winning journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who exposed the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal, is also facing a SLAPP.
Besides journalists and the media, SLAPPs are also used to target academia, trade unionists, activists, civil society organisations and individual citizens, including human rights defenders. In essence, SLAPPs are used to silence individuals and organisations that play a watchdog role and hold those in positions of power to account.
There are many examples of unjustified legal action against these actors in the EU. These are some examples:
At a time when there is no anti-SLAPP legislation in force in any EU member state, strong EU anti-SLAPP measures, including legislation and legal funds for victims, will help protect those most vulnerable to such legal harassment, and send a strong political message that the EU is ready to stand up for its citizens and protect fundamental rights.
Allianz – Rechtssicherheit für politsche Willensbildung
Corporate Europe Observatory
Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
ECNL – European Center for Not-for-Profit Law
ECPMF – European Centre for Press and Media Freedom
Environmental Partnership Association
European Civic Forum
European Humanist Federation
European Partnership for Democracy
Friends of the Earth
ISHR – International Service for Human Rights
NGO Shipbreaking Platform
Reporters Without Borders
Umweltinstitut München e.V.
Young European Federalists
Supported by: Civil Society Europe