CPJ welcomes call for EU directive against SLAPPs
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has welcomed a call to introduce a new EU directive to stop abusive lawsuits against critical journalists.Source: CPJ
The call came from members of the European Parliament on Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, the organization said.
Such lawsuits, known as strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs), can harass and intimidate journalists into silence by requiring them to make repeated court appearances and pay exorbitant legal fees, a statement said.
“The commission should act as soon as possible on this recommendation by members of the European Parliament and protect press freedom by ending the abuse of these lawsuits. Journalists in the European Union must be allowed to investigate sensitive topics without fear or interference," ” said Tom Gibson, CPJ’s EU representative.
The cross-party group of MEPs proposed that the directive cover the ability of journalists to request the dismissal of lawsuits and claim compensation; introduce punitive fines for businesses pursuing cases through jurisdictions outside the EU; and establish a SLAPP fund to help journalists as well as an EU register to publicly name companies that abuse such lawsuits, the CPJ said.