David Casa calls for EU solutions to address harassment of journalists

PN MEP David Casa says SLAPP lawsuits intended to harass journalists were abused in Malta and must be addressed at an EU level

Nationalist Party MEP David Casa
Nationalist Party MEP David Casa

SLAPP lawsuits intended to deter critics and other forms of harassment on journalists need to be addressed at a European level, Nationalist MEP David Casa said. 

Acting as a Quaestor of the European Parliament during a talk he co-hosted, Casa said that legal expert Justin Borg Barthet had set out concrete measures to address SLAPP practices and that the EU now had a concrete foundation on which work could be based. 

SLAPP, strategic lawsuits against public participation, refers to lawsuits that deter and muzzle critics by weighing them down with the cost of a legal defence until they stop their criticism or opposition. 

"The political will to find such solutions was lacking in the outgoing Commission. This Parliament remains committed to ending the harassment of journalists through these devious tactics. Hopefully, the new Commission will finally take action that we have been calling for," Casa said on Wednesday.

Speakers at the event also included Corinne Vella, representing the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation and Gil Philips from The Guardian. 

"We must also look at the policies being enacted in jurisdictions outside the European Union. There are opportunities to understand best practices and replicate such practicies there. We must also be ready to call out abusive practices when we see them. Public outrage at the use of SLAPP can partially defeat their purposes," Casa said.

He added that SLAPP lawsuits have been used in Malta against assassinate journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia among others. "There are currently more than forty-seven lawsuits against Daphne that her family have to deal with constantly," Casa said.