20 Oct, 2021

Protect free speech and media freedom, demands Renew Europe

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament champions the protection of media freedom and media pluralism. To this end, Yana Toom MEP (Keskerakond, EE) and Ramona Strugariu MEP (USR PLUS, RO) have taken part in shaping the Anti-SLAPP report adopted last week by the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) and Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

Throughout these proceedings, Renew Europe has asked the European Commission for strong mechanisms to protect and strengthen freedom of speech, media freedom and enhance the protection of journalists by the inclusion of strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPPs) on the domestic level.

Toom, Renew Europe representative in the JURI Committee and shadow rapporteur on the report, said:

"SLAPPs are only one method to silence actors through litigation. Governments and others are creative and will find other ways, and in some countries they already have. It is important to combat all forms of abuse of the judicial system intended to undermine media freedom, whether journalists are on the complainant or defendant side of the case."

Renew Europe insists that the future Anti-SLAPPS Directive must provide a permanent EU fund for investigative journalists and a rapid reaction mechanism for journalists in danger.

Strugariu, Renew Europe representative in the LIBE Committee and shadow rapporteur on the report, added:

"SLAPPs are highly abusive practices that need to end. They are an EU-wide problem and we need a strong EU solution to them. It is time for legislative proposals that protect those engaging in public participation both in cross border and domestic cases. With this report, we provide the European Commission with all the elements it needs to bring forward a strong package against SLAPPs. The wide majority that stands behind this report shows our strong support for effective legally binding measures. It's time to go beyond recommendations!"

Photo credit: Jan Van De Vel and Eric Vidal, European Parliament 2021.

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