Intimidation: More lawsuits against journalists

Intimidation: More lawsuits against journalists
Flutura Kusari from the Center for Press and Media Freedom
Image: (Anti-SLAPP Conference)

That is 26 more than in 2021, although the number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher. Journalists are the most common target. Media houses, activists and NGOs are also often sued. Most lawsuits target individuals and are brought for defamation. The plaintiffs are often companies, state institutions and politicians, often suing for research or actions relating to corruption, corporate and government activities or the environment.

EU law weakened

“Sueing journalists is a strategic decision. It’s meant to isolate and make them feel like they’re doing something wrong,” said Flutura Kusari, who heads the European Center for Press and Media Freedom’s Legal Support Program and is an EU and Council of Europe discussing SLAPP lawsuits, yesterday at the Concordia press club. Often there is a deterrent effect. Reporting or dealing with certain companies or people becomes more cautious or stops altogether because they are known to sue quickly.

“It’s a European problem and therefore it needs a European solution,” said Kusari with conviction. In 2021, a first draft was published by EU Commission Vice President Vera Jourova. According to Kusari, this had a positive effect. But in the legislative process it was “massively weakened”. “We are shocked,” she said. If the law is passed – probably at the end of the year – it will not help journalists.

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: Nachrichten

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