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MFRR SUMMIT - Sued into Silence: The use of SLAPPs to intimidate and silence journalists across Europe
PART OF THE MEDIA FREEDOM RAPID RESPONSE SUMMIT 2021

Speakers:

- Piotr Pacewicz, OKO.Press (Poland)
- Linda Ravo, Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Europe-wide)
- Primož Cirman, Necenzurirano (Slovenia)
- Flutura Kusari, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (Kosovo)
- CHAIR: Jonathan McCully, Digital Freedom Fund (UK)

In Poland, Gazeta Wyborcza has been threatened with over 55 legal threats and OKO.Press has also received an avalanche of legal threats from wealthy business people, companies and politicians. In Slovenia, Necenzurirano is facing 39 legal threats, solely for doing their job. The use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) and other vexatious lawsuits targeted at journalists, media workers and outlets is prevalent across Europe and places a disproportionate burden on outlets to undertake costly and time intensive court action, if the threats even make it to court. When facing such threats, many outlets may step away from important reporting, avoid certain individuals or organisations or put their resources at risk by having to mount a defence. Abusing the law to target media freedom gives the powerful, wealthy and thin-skinned too much control over the media landscape in Europe but there is movement.

Joining representatives of OKO.Press and Necenzurirano on this panel is Linda Ravo, who alongside a coalition of Europe-based organisations, has worked to realise what a EU anti-SLAPP directive could look like to ensure journalists and outlets are protected across the continent. Chaired by Jonathan McCully, a member of the ECPMF Legal Affairs Committee, this session will also feature an introduction from ECPMF's Legal Advisor, Flutura Kusari to give a continent-wide picture of the use of SLAPPs to stifle criticism and silence journalistic reporting.
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