MEPs David Casa (EPP), Ana Gomes (S&D), Monica Macovei (ECR), Maite Pagazaurtundúa (ALDE), Benedek Jávor (Greens-EFA) and Stelios Kouloglou (GUE/NGL) organised and event in Strasbourg to discuss the protection of journalists and need for EU anti-SLAPP legislation. SLAPP consists of legal action that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence journalists by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.
During the debate that was held in the Daphne Caruana Galizia Press Room, MEPs exchanged views with journalists and journalist organisations on the effect of SLAPP practices and need for measures to address them.
The MEPs stated: “We have been working on this subject for many months now. SLAPP is abuse, it is harassment and it has no place in the European Union. We are committed to continue working on this issue. We are calling on Commission to propose measures to combat SLAPP but we are also actively pursuing the creation of a monitoring body that will expose SLAPP practices at a European level. Those that use SLAPP do so with the objective of concealing the truth, in order to safeguard their reputation by concealing wrongdoing. By monitoring the use of SLAPP suits, MEPs are in a position to expose these practices when they occur. Exposing these practices is in itself a deterrent against their use. On Malta, it is clear from replies that we received from the Commission that there is nothing in EU law that prevents legislative measures to protect journalists against SLAPP”.
Speakers included Jurgen Balzan from The Shift News, and political blogger Manuel Delia. Sarah Clarke from PEN International and Thomas Gibson representing the Committee to Protect Journalists also participated in the debate. The debate was chaired by Sophie Busson from Reporters Without Borders.
This article was originally published in a press release on the website of the EPP group in the European Parliament