Justice Secretary Dominic Rabb

UK government urged to stop SLAPPS

Leading UK editors have called on the UK government to back meaningful anti-SLAPP protections to defend media freedom.

In an open letter to Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, more than 70 journalists, lawyers, publishers and free speech organisations urged the government to make good on its commitment to introduce robust measures against SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

The letter said “.. public interest reporting targeted by SLAPPs is vital for the health of democratic societies, including law enforcement’s ability to investigate wrongdoing promptly and effectively. This is of acute importance in the UK, which journalistic investigations have repeatedly shown to be a hub for illicit finance from kleptocratic elites.”
It noted that events over the past year have shone a light on the use of abusive lawsuits and legal threats to shut down public interest speech and how “it is all too easy for such abusive legal tactics” to be used by the wealthy and powerful to shut down investigations and block accountability.

The group letter pointed to the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition’s model law which could empower courts to dispose of SLAPPs swiftly as well as stiff penalties to deter their use and protective measures for SLAPP victims.

The AEJ is a member of the influential Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), a group of non-governmental organisations from across Europe united in recognition of the threat posed to public watchdogs by SLAPPs.

Leading journalists call for anti-SLAPP law
Open letter to Justice Secretary Dominic Rabb
Model anti-SLAPP law
AEJ in Europe-wide coalition against SLAPPs