Photo: Okan Caliskan, Pixabay

SOMO is one of the more than hundred signatories of a policy paper on how the EU should end gag lawsuits, also known as SLAPPs.

Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation are lawsuits brought forward by powerful actors (such as companies, public officials in their private capacity, high profile persons) to harass and silence those speaking out in the public interest. Typical victims are those with a watchdog role, like journalists, activists, academics, trade unions, and civil society organisations. SLAPPs are a threat to freedom of expression, advocacy and assembly rights.

Recent examples of SLAPPs include PayPal suing SumOfUs for a peaceful protest outside PayPal’s German headquarters; co-owners of Malta’s Satabank suing blogger Manuel Delia for a blog post denouncing money laundering at Satabank; and Bollore Group suing Sherpa and ReAct in France to stop them from reporting human rights abuses in Cameroon. In Italy more than 6,000 or two-thirds of defamation lawsuits filed against journalists and media outlets annually are dismissed as meritless by a judge. When Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was brutally killed, there were 47 SLAPPs pending against her.

Read the paper below.

Download Ending SLAPPs (166 KB)