MEP and co-chair of the Media Working Group David Casa welcomed the Commission’s proposal to curtail strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP).
Reacting to the European Commission’s proposal which would change legal procedures across Europe to ensure better journalistic protection, Casa said that after four years of hard work, it is immensely gratifying to see significant progress on press freedom in Europe.
Casa has been significantly involved in raising awareness in Brussels as co-chair of the Media Working Group. He has advocated for a legal, Europe-wide solution to address vexatious lawsuits.
In the EU parliament, he has led political efforts by academics, journalists and activists to put an end to the issue. The draft law announced today addresses two key legal hurdles that enabled vexatious lawsuits being filed domestically and overseas.
David Casa explained that SLAPP suits reached their peak in Malta in 2017, when journalists like Daphne Caruana Galizia faced dozens of bogus defamation suits, including criminal libel and intimidating letters from Pilatus Bank.
“When this issue came to the fore in Malta, it was seen as a complex issue that involved aspects of human rights and private international law. It is a sign of success that we mobilised support on a European level”, Casa said.
“We now have a working solution on the table that will bolster protections for journalists, especially those working on public interest investigations against those corrupt entities and governments with deeper pockets and more resources than entire news agencies.”
Between 2010 and 2021, Malta had the highest number of SLAPP suits per capita in Europe.