It sounds complicated and theoretical but can be a serious threat to investigative journalists: “Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation”, also known as SLAPPs. These are the court cases that powerful people raise against journalists to intimidate and silence them, or complicate their work.
SLAPPs have become increasingly common in the EU, even in countries with long traditions of democracy and protection of free speech.
In late April, the European Commission released an anti-SLAPP package to protect journalists, NGOs, and others, and the Council of Europe is preparing anti-SLAPP guidelines for member countries as well. What will these initiatives change? Will they help – and how? Where are their shortcomings?
Senior legal advisors Linda Ravo (Civil Liberties Union for Europe) and Daniel Simons (Greenpeace International) are following the initiatives. At Dataharvest, they will tell you what has happened and discuss what more must be done, moderated by senior investigative journalist Hans-Martin Tillack.