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February 12, 2020 - Updated on February 13, 2020

RSF and 26 other organisations call for European Commission measures against abusive lawsuits

Věra Jourová / AFP
In a joint-letter, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and 26 other organisations urge European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová to take action to deter “strategic lawsuits against public participation, (SLAPPs) — lawsuits brought by the rich and powerful to tie journalists and other critics up in expensive legal proceedings and ultimately silence them.

Over the last few years, RSF has noticed a significant rise in judicial harassment in the European Union. More and more journalists are being subjected to abusive lawsuits. Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had 47 lawsuits pending against her at the time of her murder. Carole Cadwalladr, the award-winning journalist  who exposed the Cambridge Analytica scandal, is also facing a SLAPP. In France, French billionaire businessman Vincent Bolloré has systematically brought abusive lawsuits against investigative journalists and NGO representatives who tried to cover certain aspects of his activities in Africa.

 

Lawsuits of this kind aim to pressure, financially weaken, and isolate journalists, whistleblowers, human rights defenders and civil society organisations that try to shed light on questionable activities. The increasing use of SLAPPs hurts press freedom and the public interest, and requires a robust response from the EU.

 

Read the full letter here.

 

List of the signatories:

 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF),Greenpeace, Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Corporate Europe Observatory, European Partnership for Democracy, International Service for Human Rights, Protection International, European Civic Forum, European Centre For Press & Media Freedom (ECPMF), Solidar, Friends of the Earth Europe, NGO Shipbreaking Platform, Environmental Partnership Association, European Humanist Federation, Act Alliance EU, ECNL, WeMove.EU, Frontline Defenders, Young European Federalists, Allianz Rechtssicherheit für politische Willensbildung, Umweltinstitut München, NOAH, Scottish Pen, OGM dangers, ePanstwo Foundation, Justice Pesticides, Civil Society Europe.