About this event

Media freedom has been in decline in the whole world for more than a decade. Even though Europe remains the safest continent for journalists and media outlets, the general trend has also affected it. The most vivid examples are the European Union’s backsliding democracies, Poland and Hungary, but other member states have followed their footsteps—even if only temporarily—like Slovenia under Prime Minister Janez Jansa.

Strategic litigation against public Participation (SLAPP) is of illiberal governments’ most frequently used tools to intimidate and in the long run also suppress independent media and civil society. These vexatious lawsuits drain the financial and psychological resources of their victims, introduce a chilling effect, and reduces the public’s access to information. As a reaction to the widespread presence of SLAPPs not only in the member states mentioned but also throughout the EU, the European Commission has proposed an anti-SLAPP directive.

What are the main features of SLAPPs in the European Union and how did illiberal governments in Hungary, Poland, and for a while in Slovenia employ them to suppress independent media and civil society? Is the European Commission’s anti-SLAPP directive well-suited to effectively address these challenges? What are the main lessons learned from the implementation of anti-SLAPP legislations in Australia, Canada, and the United States? And what recommendations can be addressed to European stakeholders in light of these countries’ experiences?

This event will discuss the role of SLAPPs in suppressing independent media and civil society in illiberal regimes and the ways to effectively combat the abuse of law through SLAPPs in the European Union.

Event Speakers