The focus of this project is to provide an insight into the extent to which journalists and media outlets in Europe are being affected by a type of vexatious legal action known as a Slapp – a strategic lawsuit against public participation.
Slapps are used by powerful actors (including corporations, public officials, high-profile businesspeople) in an attempt to stop individuals or organisations from expressing critical views on issues of public interest. Although they are disguised as ordinary civil claims, such as defamation or privacy, they are not intended to succeed in court. Instead, their goal is to saddle critics with prohibitively expensive, time-consuming, and nerve-wracking legal processes.
Slapps threaten not only freedom of expression and media freedom, but access to information, rule of law, and our very democracy.