Greens/EFA Group welcomes vote to protect against Strategic Lawsuits
Today, the European Parliament voted in favour of the committee of Legal Affairs (JURI)’s position on the European Commission’s proposal on Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs). The Greens/EFA Group welcomes this vote which confirms the mandate of the committee to enter trilogue negotiations.
Marie Toussaint MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur and Member in the Legal Affairs Committee, comments:
“Strategic lawsuits are being increasingly used by state authorities, corporations and powerful individuals to silence and harass journalists and others involved in protecting the public interest. When she was killed in 2017, the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was facing no less than 47 of these groundless lawsuits. Their purpose is to censor, intimidate and silence by psychologically and financially burdening people with the cost of a legal defence until they can no longer speak out.
“Protecting those who seek to defend the public interest has long been a priority for our Group. We have managed to significantly improve the Commission proposal by including, among other things, protection for environmental rights defenders. Other significant provisions we have included in the proposal are a one-stop shop for SLAPPs victims, awareness raising and an obligation for Member States to provide legal and financial assistance to those targeted by SLAPPs. We will always stand with those who are defending democracy.”
Diana Riba i Giner, Greens/EFA Member in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, comments:
“Strategic litigation against journalists and activists has been used for too long to protect from scrutiny those who abuse positions of power. Freedom of expression and freedom of information have deteriorated alarmingly in recent years in Europe. Now is the time to put an end to these practices.
“Although it is not as ambitious as our Group would have liked, the text that this House has approved is an important step in the fight to defend our fundamental democratic values and we must prevent its content from being diluted in trilogues. Freedom of expression and the right to dissent are not mere privileges but essential pillars of a vibrant and open society.”