David Casa urges EU to introduce measures banning SLAPP

Nationalist Party MEP David Casa calls on European Commission to put in place measures to eliminate Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) in EU

David Casa has called on European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová to introduce measures that will ban the abusive practice of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP).

The PN MEP was one of 30 Europarliamentarians, from various political groups, to urge Jourová to put in place measures to protect the work and freedom of journalists in their line of work, as well as to offer adequate legal protection for activists, human right defenders, academics and trade unionists. 

The initiative was led by the Media Working Group - of which Casa is a member - which focuses on pushing issues related to the protection of journalists.

Casa underlined, in a statement on Thursday, that such measures were particularly important for Malta, given the fact that SLAPP lawsuits are often used to silence government critics, media houses and others. 

Assassinated Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had 47 vexatious lawsuits filed against her at the time of her death, many of which had to be shouldered by her family, he said.

In a resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 18  December 2019, it had been noted that in Malta, journalists, and in particular investigative journalists, but not exclusively, were increasingly facing such lawsuits against them, intended purely to hinder their work and silence them, Casa noted.

 "Silencing public debate and watchdogs is detrimental to a democratic state and a democratic Union. At a time of increasing pressure over free and independent media, an effective European answer is imperative to solving this problem," the MEP added.