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The EU passes a directive against “SLAPP” lawsuits

The European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the adoption of a new directive that will protect journalists, human rights defenders and civil society organizations from the so-called SLAPP lawsuits.

SLAPP lawsuits are a specific form of pressure on media and activists through unfounded lawsuits designed to exhaust and stifle their engagement.

The new Directive should create a system of strong normative guarantees for cross-border SLAPP cases, and the existence of these measures will also prepare the courts for cases of abuse of rights in such proceedings, and the courts will be able to act in the direction of deterring potential plaintiffs from filing lawsuits and starting proceedings.

The new rules will include rejection of obviously unfounded claims, remedies against abuse of court procedures, including the possibility of full allocation of costs and penalties or other appropriate measures and protection against third country verdicts that will not be recognized or enforced in the EU.

The creation of the Directive is linked to the tragic example of the use of SLAPP against the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was facing 43 lawsuits at the time of the assassination in 2017. So far, the goal of SLAPP lawsuits is not access to justice, but rather harassment, intimidation, and silencing of defendants through financial pressure and stress as a result of lengthy court proceedings.

The Center for Environment fully supports the adoption of such a directive, and in the coming period will work on advocating the adoption of such a law at the level of BiH, that would not only transpose EU law, which is an obligation undertaken by BiH, but would also achieve certain level of protection of target groups from the so-called SLAPP lawsuits.


Photo: NoName_13 – Pixabay

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