Brussels assessing how anti-SLAPP laws can be introduced across EU

MEP welcomes Timmermans’s announcement that European Commission is actively pursuing anti-SLAPP laws

Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans
Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans

Intervening during a meeting of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in Strasbourg, Nationalist MEP David Casa reiterated his call on Commissioner Frans Timmermans to propose EU legislation that would counter abusive SLAPP practices.

“Strategic lawsuit against public participation” are expensive lawsuit actions against media companies in foreign courts that make it impossible or expensive for newspapers to contest, creating pressure and a deterrent against reporting.

“The use of these practices constitute a serious threat to media freedom and should be addressed at EU level,” Casa, the PN’s head of delegation in the EP, said.

Casa pointed out that he had written to the Commission on a number of occasions, in order to call for these practices to be addressed. “It is unacceptable that we allow companies with unlimited resources to bully and intimidate independent media with vexatious lawsuits in jurisdictions outside the European Union.”

Casa said that Pilatus Bank – which is the subject of a magisterial inquiry into the laundering money for the Maltese Prime Minister’s chief of staff – “succeeded in concealing truth and effectively re-writing history” by threatening multi-million dollar lawsuits in the US state of Arizona, a jurisdiction that has no nexus to any of the parties. A case was filed against the murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

“In the EU we should be pioneers in enacting legislation that protects investigative journalism. Instead we are lagging behind. We should no longer be complacent on this issue,” Casa said.

Vice President Timmermans said that the Commission was actively pursuing the issue and assessing how such legislation can be introduced.


More in Europe

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition