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The impact of Slapps on Europe's media

An investigation into the chilling effect of vexatious lawsuits targeting journalists

This research project seeks to identify the scale and nature of the phenomenon of vexatious legal threats/actions (often known as Slapps or strategic lawsuits against public participation) against journalists in Europe.

Vexatious actions, which may include letters threatening libel and defamation, come from private parties (often corporations or wealthy individuals) with the intent to silence journalists and media outlets and prevent them from investigating or publishing their work.

As part of the project we have asked journalists and media outlets across Europe and the lawyers who represent them to provide insight into how common this phenomenon is.

The Index on Censorship team will also conduct desk research to add to the base of knowledge about Slapps in order to produce a series of in-depth reports over the year in which the project will be carried out. The organisation will also hold round tables to garner views from journalists and lawyers involved in Slapps cases.

NEW: Breaking the Silence

NEW: Breaking the Silence

A new report on the legal measures that will give journalists back their voices

REPORT: A gathering storm

REPORT: A gathering storm

A review of how laws are being used in Europe to bring actions against journalists