The undersigned organisations reiterate their support for award-winning journalist and author, Carole Cadwalladr, who is facing a week-long defamation trial in London this week. Cadwalladr, who works for the Guardian Media Group in the UK, is being sued as an individual by millionaire businessman and political donor Arron Banks, best known for his role as co-founder of the 2016 Brexit campaign Leave.EU.
Banks originally filed four claims against Cadwalladr in July 2019, two of which he dropped in January 2020 after the judge found them to be “far-fetched and divorced from the specific context in which those words were used”. The remaining claims relate to Cadwalladr’s 2019 TED Talk, “Facebook’s Role in Brexit – and the Threat to Democracy” and a Twitter post linking to the TED Talk.
“When this lawsuit was filed more than two years ago, several organisations came together to call this legal action out as a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), aimed at intimidating and silencing Cadwalladr. We today reaffirm this characterisation and unreservedly reiterate our support for Cadwalladr as she continues to defend her public interest work,” the organisations said.
SLAPPs abuse the law in order to intimidate and silence public watchdogs from speaking out on matters of public interest. Banks is pursuing legal action against Cadwalladr as an individual, rather than pursuing her media outlet in which the contested claims were originally made. Due to the expensive nature of the process in England, Cadwalladr has had to raise funds for her legal defence through crowdfunding. She has so far raised more than half a million pounds.
“We, once again, urge the UK government to consider measures, including legislative reforms, that would protect journalists and others working in the public interest from being subject to abusive legal actions intended to stifle public debate,” the organisations concluded. “Our democracy relies on the ability to hold power to account.”
Representatives from several of the undersigned organisations will be in attendance at the High Court this week to monitor proceedings.
Index on Censorship
Association of European Journalists
Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS)
Committee to Protect Journalists
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
International Press Institute (IPI)
Justice for Journalists Foundation
Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Society of Journalists
Spotlight on Corruption
The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
Whistleblowing International Network
This highlights the position of the rich people in this country. It shows that power is money! Regardless of the outcome of this case, if there is a poor balance of finances then the legal system is not Just or Fair. What if there were no crowdfunding in this case? How would she have faced his, no doubt extortionately priced, legal team. When you take this scenario out of the ‘limelight’ and bring it back to every day court hearings, then this injustice arises day in and day out. There is one of many scenarios where the women in this country are being failed. Mainly by the legal system and the Government who are failing to address it. It is when the unmarried Father leaves the mother of his children and turns against her. He causes absolute mayhem to her life and accuses her of everything and anything because he can afford to. He abandons his duty to support his children both as a Father and financially, knowing that mother will do everything in her power to make sure they don’t go without. His aim is to destroy her as he no longer has power in the home. His slander goes unchallenged as he has deprived her of a ‘reasonable’ child maintenance which hardly covers the cost of the children. She can do NOTHING about the challenges he presents her with as does not have the financial means to not only defend herself but to stop it happening. He takes her to court to take the house from over their heads and has a team of Solicitors and Barristers but she does not and is not able to represent herself in person as she is fearful of him and his team of wolves. I hear this time after time. It’s an abuse of power on all levels and its a common occurrance.
She simply has to put a smile on her face in front of her children, let the Father see the children or she is sent yet another letter from his legal team, be nice about the father to the children as they should know no difference and allow the Father to abuse her, slander her name, disrupt the children’s beliefs about their Mother and spread malicious gossip about the mother in her community. Again, she can do nothing about it for two reasons. She does not have the funds to allow her to take legal action and ‘Slander’ is expensive both for the accuser and the defendent but the second reason is that she is too busy working and brining the children up while he lives the life of a single man.
So, I’m glad that there is the support in this case and that crowfuning has made a little more fair but can someone do something about this at a basic levell as well. Can someone challenge the MP’s and the courts and make them see that this is injust! It is such a sad world when, in this day and age, people are being abused by people who have the money to do so. You have my full support in this case. Stand strong together!
Carole Cadwalladr is an amazing, tenacious and courageous investigative reporter.
We should all stand with her.