Journalists and activists will no longer be silenced by abusive lawsuits



Freedom of expression

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament welcomes the adoption today of proposed legislation protecting persons who engage in public participation from manifestly unfounded or abusive court proceedings (“Strategic lawsuits against public participation” or SLAPPs).

We believe that our democracies thrive when journalists and human right defenders can fully exercise their right to freedom of expression. We have asked for a mechanism of early dismissal of abusive court proceedings and also assistance (advice, legal aid, financial assistance and support measures, including psychological support) for victims of SLAPPs in cross-border cases. Furthermore, Renew Europe has defended the principle that penalties on the party who brought SLAPP should consider the economic situation of the claimant.

MEP Ilana Cicurel (Liste Renaissance, France) Renew Europe shadow rapporteur on the file in the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), says:

"Misusing justice to silence critics should not be tolerated. With this anti-SLAPPs directive, we create unprecedented tools to offset imbalances of power between parties and protect from judicial harassment those who inform and alert us. As the Renew Europe MEP in charge, I will now fight hard in the inter-institutional negotiations to give it a relevant scope and ensure its full efficiency".

MEP Ramona Strugariu (REPER, Romania) member in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), adds:

"I welcome the strong signal that the European Parliament has given with today's vote to support media freedom and pluralism, to discourage attempts of intimidation and to support media workers.Journalism means more than just providing services: it means democracy, freedom and fighting for the truth. That is what we voted for today. I hope that the outcome of the Directive, following the negotiations, will be at least as courageous as the one voted today in the Parliament. We owe this to the journalists, to all those involved in public participation and ultimately to Daphne Caruana Galizia".


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