More than 60 experts call for the Anti-SLAPP Bill to be amended

Over sixty editors, journalists, writers, publishers, academics, and experts have written to Justice Secretary Alex Chalk KC MP calling on the Government to support amendments to the Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation Bill. Signatories include the editors of DMG Media, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and The Sunday Times, Private Eye, and The Economist.

“We are closer than ever to establishing a standalone anti-SLAPP law, but we cannot let its  roximity stop us from ensuring the Bill does what it is intended to: protecting public interest speech from being silenced by SLAPPs,” the letter said.

The signatories are calling on the Government to address the fundamental flaw at the centre of the Bill’s early dismissal mechanism that requires a court to make a subjective judgement as to the intent of a SLAPP claimant in order to determine whether the legal action can be identified as a SLAPP. They echo concerns raised by the Law Society and MPs, that identifying a claimant’s intent “is a notoriously difficult, time-intensive, expensive and uncertain process that would undermine the effective operation of the protections the law provides.”

The signatories highlight concerns that deficiencies of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (ECCTA) were previously made clear to the Government, but yet have been replicated in full in the Anti-SLAPP Bill.

“If enacted in its current form, the Bill risks becoming an ineffective, inaccessible, and ultimately redundant legal instrument,” the letter said. “[B]y making a small but important amendment, we can ensure courts and judges are able to make timely, consistent and evidence-based determinations of SLAPP cases before legal costs have accrued.”

The signatories also called for the definition of public interest in the Bill to be refined in order to further strengthen the legislation. “We believe the current definition of public interest could introduce unnecessary uncertainty, which must be avoided for this Bill to be effective”, they said.

“[A]n Anti-SLAPP Law must be accessible, simple and trusted by public watchdogs to effectively protect free expression,” the signatories said.

Katharine Viner, Editor-in-Chief, The Guardian said: “SLAPPs threaten free speech and a free press by enabling those with deep pockets to harass, intimidate and exhaust critics with the goal of deterring public interest journalism. We welcome the work to get a workable anti-SLAPP law in place, with these small changes being vital to making that happen.”

Catherine Belton, International investigative reporter, Washington Post, Author, Putin’s People, said: “It’s really important that after all the crusading work by NGOs and MPs, journalists don’t end up with a law that is ultimately ineffective or worse, counterproductive, in combating SLAPPs. In its current form, the proposed legislation would not improve the situation for any journalist and instead more likely strengthen any claimant’s hand, as it will be near impossible to prove a claimant’s intent. This law must be urgently amended, otherwise we risk shooting ourselves in the foot.”


Here is the full letter to Alex Chalk KC MP sent on 10 April 2024:

Rt. Hon. Alex Chalk KC MP, Secretary of State for Justice
Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Rt. Hon. Lucy Frazer KC MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Ms. Julia Lopez MP, Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
Rt. Hon. Lord Cameron, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
Ms. Shabana Mahmood MP, Shadow Labour Secretary of State for Justice
Rt. Hon. Alistair Carmichael MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs, Justice and Northern
Ireland
Mr. Chris Stephens MP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice)
Mr. Paul Philip, Chief Executive, Solicitors Regulation Authority
Mr. Mark Neale, Director-General, The Bar Standards Board
Mr. Matthew Hill, Chief Executive, Legal Services Board
Mr. Michael O’Flaherty, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Teresa Ribeiro, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Representative on Freedom of the
Media
Mr. Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Irene Khan, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of
Opinion and Expression

10 April 2024

Dear Rt. Hon. Alex Chalk KC MP,

We are contacting you ahead of the committee stage of the Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation Bill, a Private Members’ Bill brought by Wayne David MP to support the small but crucial amendment proposed by the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition. We are closer than ever to establishing a standalone anti-SLAPP law, but we cannot let its proximity stop us from ensuring the Bill does what it is intended to: protecting public interest speech from being silenced by SLAPPs. As drafted we fear the Bill falls short of the necessary protections needed to achieve this goal.

Since the anti-SLAPP amendment was published in the Economic Crimes and Corporate Transparency Act (ECCTA) last year, stakeholders on both sides of the SLAPP debate have raised concerns about the efficacy of the Government’s approach. The deficiencies of the ECCTA’s anti-SLAPP provisions have been made clear to the Government, yet they have been reproduced in their entirety in the Private Members’ Bill. If enacted in its current form, the Bill risks becoming an ineffective, inaccessible, and ultimately redundant legal instrument.

However, there is still an opportunity to remedy this to ensure it is a Bill that will serve its purpose. Currently, the definition of a SLAPP requires a court to make a subjective judgement as to the intent of a claimant in order to determine if the legal action in question can be identified as a SLAPP. This is a notoriously difficult, time-intensive, expensive and uncertain process that would undermine the effective operation of the protections the law provides. Using the subjective test will hinder the early dismissal mechanism that sits at the heart of this Bill, but by making a small but important amendment, we can ensure courts and judges are able to make timely, consistent and evidence-based determinations of SLAPP cases before legal costs have accrued.

As the Bill comes before the Bill Committee for scrutiny, we call for the Government to support amendments to Clause 2(1) to replace the subjective test with an objective test. This would give SLAPP targets greater certainty, while also providing the clarity courts need to effectively apply the new mechanism.

Refining the definition of public interest in the Bill would further strengthen this piece of legislation. We believe the current definition of public interest could introduce unnecessary uncertainty, which must be avoided for this Bill to be effective. While the examples in the Bill are only illustrative, it is vital that the definition demonstrates the breadth and diversity of public interest reporting to give confidence to public watchdogs.

This close to establishing an Anti-SLAPP Law that is universal in scope, we must ensure it can live up to the expectations of everyone who speaks out in the public interest. Only then will free expression be protected.

We hope that you agree that an Anti-SLAPP Law must be accessible, simple and trusted by public watchdogs to effectively protect free expression.

Kind regards,

Editorial and media senior management
Rozina Breen, CEO, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ)
Paul Dacre, Editor-in-Chief, DMG media
Chris Evans, Editor, The Telegraph
Tony Gallagher, Editor, The Times
Alessandra Galloni, Editor-in-Chief, Reuters
Isabel Hilton, Co-Chair, TBIJ
Ian Hislop, Editor, Private Eye
John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg News
Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
Paul Radu, Co-Executive Director, OCCRP
Richard Sambrook, Co-Chair, TBIJ
Aman Sethi, Editor-in-Chief, openDemocracy
Drew Sullivan, Publisher, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)
Ben Taylor, Editor, The Sunday Times
Emma Tucker, Editor-in-Chief, The Wall Street Journal
Ted Verity, Editor, The Daily Mail
Katharine Viner, Editor-in-Chief, The Guardian
Paul Webster, Editor, The Observer
Franz Wild, Editor, TBIJ

Associations, foundations and media support organisations
Lionel Barber, Chairman, The Wincott Foundation
Sarah Baxter, Director, Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting
Matthew Caruana Galizia, Director, The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
Anthony Fargo, Director, Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies
George Freeman, Executive Director, Media Law Resource Center
Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice
Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary, National Union of Journalists
Sayra Tekin, Director of Legal, News Media Association

Lawyers and other legal professionals
Rupert Cowper-Coles, Partner and Head of Media, RPC
Matthew Dando, Partner and Head of Media Litigation, Wiggin LLP
David Hooper, Media Lawyer and writer on SLAPPs, Author, Buying Silence
Matthew Jury, Managing Partner, McCue Jury & Partners LLP
Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws KC, Director, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute
Nicola Namdjou, General Counsel at Global Witness
Gill Phillips, Editorial Legal Consultant
David Price KC
Pia Sarma, Editorial Legal Director, Times Newspapers Ltd
Mark Stephens CBE, Lawyer, Co-Chair International Bar Association Human Rights Committee, Trustee, Index on Censorship
Samantha Thompson, Media Defence Lawyer, RPC

Writers, journalists and authors
Catherine Belton, International investigative reporter, Washington Post, Author, Putin’s People
Tom Bergin, Author and investigative journalist, Reuters
Richard Brooks, Journalist, Private Eye
Bill Browder, Author, financier, and Head of Global Magnitsky Justice campaign
Tom Burgis, Author and investigations correspondent, The Guardian
Paul Caruana Galizia, Reporter, Tortoise Media
Bill Emmott, Journalist, author, and former editor-in-chief of The Economist
Peter Geoghegan, Journalist and author
George Greenwood, Investigations Reporter, The Times
Eliot Higgins, Author and journalist
Edward Lucas, Author, European and transatlantic security consultant and fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA)
Thomas Mayne, Researcher and writer
Trevor Phillips, Broadcaster, writer and chair of Index on Censorship
Clare Rewcastle Brown, Journalist

Publishers
José Borghino, Secretary General, International Publishers Association
Dan Conway, CEO, Publishers Association
Andrew Franklin, Founder and publisher, Profile Books and trustee of Index on Censorship
Arabella Pike, Publishing Director, HarperCollins Publishers
Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive, Society of Authors

Academics
Peter Coe, Associate Professor in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham
John Heathershaw, Professor of International Relations, University of Exeter
Andrew Scott, Associate Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
Ursula Smartt, Media Lawyer, Associate Professor of Law, Northeastern University London


Media Contacts
For any questions or quotes from the Coalition, or to organise any media engagement on this, please contact [email protected]

Notes
● The letter was coordinated by the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition, which is an informal working group established in January 2021, co-chaired by the Foreign Policy Centre, Index on Censorship and CliDef. It comprises a number of freedom of expression, whistleblowing, anti-corruption and transparency organisations, as well as media lawyers, researchers and academics who are researching, monitoring and highlighting cases of legal intimidation and SLAPPs, as well as seeking to develop remedies for mitigation and redress.
● For more information about the Coalition – www.antislapp.uk
● The letter sent to Alex Chalk KC MP with the full signatory list – https://antislapp.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Anti-SLAPP-Amendment-Letter-to-Alex-Chalk-KC-MP-1.pdf
● The Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation Bill – https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-04/0021/230021.pdf
● For more details about the proposed amendment – https://antislapp.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Amendment-Text.pdf
● The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition response to the publication of the Anti-SLAPP Private Members’ Bill – https://antislapp.uk/2024/02/20/anti-slapp-pmb-amendments/
● The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition response to the publication of the ECCTA – https://antislapp.uk/2023/10/26/a-landmark-moment-but-we-cant-stop-here/

The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition welcomes Wayne David MP’s Anti-SLAPP Bill

Today, Wayne David MP will present the Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation Bill, his Private Members’ Bill, to the Houses of Parliament. This is a crucial milestone for the UK to stamp out all SLAPPs targeting public interest reporting. Irrespective of the identity of the public watchdog or the issues they are covering, a standalone bill is necessary to ensure that abusive legal threats and actions cannot continue to stifle free speech.

With a general election expected next year the introduction of this standalone Bill is the start of an important process. If the Bill is bold and expansive enough to protect all forms of free expression, protect British courts against abuse and disincentivise further SLAPPs, the impact it can have cannot be overstated.

The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition, of which Index on Censorship is a co-founder and co-chair, will monitor and engage with the process to ensure the protections are as robust, clear and accessible as possible. The threats to people such as Carole Cadwalladr, Catherine Belton, Tom Burgis, Nina Cresswell, openDemocracy and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), as well as the countless others who have been subject to legal intimidation demonstrates the urgent need for action to ensure free speech remains free.

If the details of the Bill are fleshed out in line with our Model Anti-SLAPP Law, this could be a hugely significant step to address the gaps in the recently passed Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (ECCT) that established important, although limited, anti-SLAPP protections for those reporting on economic crime. While the Coalition welcomed the recent formation of the UK Government-led taskforce on non-legislative measures to tackle SLAPPs, we have always believed anti-SLAPP legislation to be an indispensable part of any initiative to tackle SLAPPs. The Bill announced today brings us closer to this goal.

Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly said: “It is vital that in a healthy democracy there is protection for everyone who speaks out in the public interest. Whether it is victims of sexual violence, journalists, whistleblowers or academics, there must be freedom for those who speak out. This Bill would ensure that there is that freedom in law. I look forward to working with members of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition and others to ensure that this Bill reaches the statute book.”

The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition co-chairs said: “We welcome the announcement of Wayne’s Private Members’ Bill today. While the devil will be in the detail, this is a significant step towards ensuring British courts cannot be abused to shut down public interest speech. As always, we will assess the Bill with reference to the standards we have established in our Model Anti-SLAPP Law. We call on all Parliamentarians, irrespective of party, to continue the already fruitful cross-party collaboration on this issue to ensure we can stamp out SLAPPs without delay.”

Notes:

  • The Long and Short Title for the Private Members’ Bill can be found here: https://commonsbusiness.parliament.uk/Document/83383/Pdf?subType=Standard#p age=20
  • The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition: https://antislapp.uk/
  • The Model Anti-SLAPP Law can be viewed here: https://antislapp.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Model-UK-Anti-SLAPP-Law-Final-Ve rsion.docx.pdf
  • The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition response to the passage of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act: https://antislapp.uk/2023/10/26/a-landmark-moment-but-we-cant-stop-here/

The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition: The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition is an informal working group established in January 2021. It comprises freedom of expression, whistleblowing, anti-corruption and transparency organisations, as well as media lawyers, researchers and academics who are researching, monitoring and highlighting cases of legal intimidation and SLAPPs, as well as seeking to develop remedies for mitigation and redress.

The coalition has worked to make the case for structural and meaningful responses to SLAPPs. The coalition, which meets monthly, brings together expertise from a range of different fields to engage with policy-makers, regulators, media outlets and other organisations to ensure that the right to free expression and the ability for all to participate in society around them is not restricted by vexatious legal threats deployed by the wealthy and powerful seeking to shutdown scrutiny and democratic accountability.

Media freedom groups call for justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia

On the sixth anniversary of the murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, we, the undersigned organisations, renew our calls for Maltese authorities to bring to justice all those responsible for her killing and to implement in full the recommendations of the public inquiry into her assassination.

Caruana Galizia, who rose to prominence through her anti-corruption investigations and blogs, was killed by a car bomb in Malta on October 16, 2017. Three men have been convicted for the journalist’s murder and three other suspects await trial.

After pressure from the Caruana Galizia family and civil society, a public inquiry was set up in 2019 to investigate the circumstances that led to her death.

In its 2021 report, the public inquiry found the state had to “shoulder responsibility” for Caruana Galizia’s murder because it had created an “atmosphere of impunity” and failed to take reasonable steps to protect her. It found that the journalist’s assassination was predictable and preventable due to the collapse of the rule of law in Malta and made detailed recommendations for the authorities, including to create a safer environment for journalists.

For the last two years, our organizations have repeatedly drawn attention to the lack of progress in implementing the public inquiry’s recommendations to safeguard the media and improve journalists’ safety.

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation has also repeatedly denounced the failure of Maltese authorities to address the corruption and abuse of power exposed by Caruana Galizia and other investigative journalists, which still contribute to an environment of insecurity that puts reporters at risk.

Yet again, we call for the strengthening of three proposed laws aimed at improving media safety so as to meet international standards on the protection of journalists, including the government’s watered-down anti-SLAPP legislation.

Maltese authorities should mark the sixth anniversary of Caruana Galizia’s death by making unequivocal statements in support of full justice for her murder, committing to implement the public inquiry’s recommendations, and guaranteeing a transparent consultation on pending legislation with the involvement of international media experts and civil society.

Signed:

ARTICLE 19 Europe

Association of European Journalists

Committee to Protect Journalists

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

European Federation of Journalists

IFEX

Index on Censorship

International Federation of Journalists

International Press Institute

OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)

PEN International

Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Transparency International EU

 

Over 60 editors, journalists, writers, publishers and experts call on the UK Government to commit to a standalone anti-SLAPP law

Over 60 editors, journalists, writers, publishers, academics and experts, including the CEOs of ITN and Pan Macmillan, as well as the editors of The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Private Eye, Tortoise and The Mirror have written to Justice Secretary Alex Chalk KC MP to request that a standalone anti-SLAPP Bill is included in the King’s Speech. The letter has been sent ahead of the King’s Speech on 7 November, in which the Government will outline its priorities for the forthcoming parliamentary session.

The Government has already committed to bring forward a package of measures that take aim at Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). Launching the commitment in July 2022, the former Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab said: “I’m announcing reforms to uphold freedom of speech, end the abuse of our justice system, and defend those who bravely shine a light on corruption.” However, over a year after that commitment was made there has been little progress towards universal protection against SLAPPs. While limited anti-SLAPP provisions have been included in a recent amendment to the forthcoming Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, this is only a partial victory.

“As an important part of the global financial system, it is vital that the UK ensures journalists and public watchdogs are able to continue their work without risking legal harassment. However, this amendment does not go far enough as it only covers claims relating to the ‘public interest in protecting society from economic crimes’” the signatories said in their letter to the Justice Secretary. “It also introduces an unnecessary element of uncertainty by making the operation of the law contingent on the belief of the defendant and the perceived purpose of the filer.”

As this King’s Speech is the last to take place during this Parliament and before the expected next general election, it is the last opportunity for this Government to realise its commitment to stamp out SLAPPs. The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition’s Model Anti-SLAPP Law produced with support from leading legal and industry experts, provides a road map towards protecting public watchdogs from legal harassment. Index on Censorship is a co-chair of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition which coordinated and sent the letter.

“ITN supports this initiative as an organisation committed to ensuring that journalists can undertake public interest investigations without fear of harassment or financial penalty. ITN’s motto is to bring truth to life, which is based on 67 years of independent journalism, and the belief that stories we can trust empower us all. An Anti-SLAPP Bill would signal to the world that the UK proudly supports journalism that can ask difficult questions and hold power to account and ultimately improve the world we live in.”

Rachel Corp, CEO of ITN

“This campaign to address the misuse of libel laws to the detriment of serious journalism is gathering the momentum it deserves. This country is unique in the hurdles it presents for public interest investigations and the chilling effect of its law before stories are even published. Independent, fearless journalism comes at a premium and our laws should not be used as an additional obstacle to publication.”

Pia Sarma, editorial legal director at Times Newspapers Ltd

“Until there are serious legislative steps, taken by Parliament to address the abuse of the UK legal system to target journalists, it’s safe to assume those abuses will continue. My own case demonstrates the absurdity of the current situation, and inaction at this stage is nothing less than complicity in the further abuse of the UK legal system, and a sad reflection on the inability of the British government to take blindingly obvious action on protecting fundamental democratic principles.”

Eliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat

“SLAPPs are a real and growing threat to democracy, and we will all benefit from protecting journalists against these abusive lawsuits.”

Paul Caruana Galizia, reporter at Tortoise

“Many victims of sexual violence already go through immense amounts of internalised shame, especially when failed by the justice system. As a result, social media is now often sadly our last hope to protect others from abuse. But now, when we finally dare speak, we’re punished by SLAPP threats that are designed to destroy. It’s not a fair fight.”

Nina Cresswell, journalist, writer and former SLAPP target

The letter and list of signatories are below. Alternatively click here to read a PDF version


 

Sent Electronically

 

Mr. Alex Chalk KC MP, Secretary of State for Justice

Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 

Rt. Hon. Lucy Frazer KC MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Rt. Hon. James Cleverly MP, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs

Ms. Shabana Mahmood MP, Shadow Labour Secretary of State for Justice

Rt. Hon. Alistair Carmichael MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs, Justice and Northern Ireland

Mr. Chris Stephens MP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice)

Mr. Paul Philip, Chief Executive, Solicitors Regulation Authority

Mr. Mark Neale, Director-General, The Bar Standards Board

Mr. Matthew Hill, Chief Executive, Legal Services Board

Ms. Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights 

Ms. Teresa Ribeiro, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Representative on Freedom of the Media

Ms. Irene Khan, United Nations Special Rapporteur on on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression

 

20 September 2023

Dear Alex Chalk KC MP,

We call on you to include an Anti-SLAPP law in the King’s Speech

We joined the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition in welcoming the UK Government’s commitment to address Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) and their impact on the British justice system. However, we remain concerned by the lack of meaningful progress since the announcement in July 2022. The inclusion of  a commitment in the forthcoming King’s Speech to bring forward a standalone Anti-SLAPP Bill will be an unequivocal statement that the UK Government is committed to stamp out SLAPPs.

We support the anti-SLAPP amendment to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill as a significant step in the right direction to protect public interest reporting on economic crime. As an important part of the global financial system, it is vital that the UK ensures journalists and public watchdogs are able to continue their work without risking legal harassment. However, this amendment does not go far enough as it only covers claims relating to the “public interest in protecting society from economic crimes”. It also introduces an unnecessary element of uncertainty by making the operation of the law contingent on the belief of the defendant and the perceived purpose of the filer. The Government itself has acknowledged the current amendment as “the first step in cracking down on SLAPPs used to limit freedom of speech,” not the full realisation of its commitment.

Therefore, the next step must be a standalone Anti-SLAPP Bill to extend protections to everyone who speaks out in the public interest. The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition has demonstrated how this can be done with their Model Law which we shared with your office last year. As a result, there is no reason why a standalone Anti-SLAPP Bill shouldn’t be included in the King’s Speech. Only with the fulfilment of a universally applicable law will the Government’s commitment be realised.

Many of the cases that have been monitored by the Coalition would have been unaffected by the proposed amendment. This includes the legal threat from the Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin against Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins, ENRC’s SLAPP action against journalist and author Tom Burgis and the defamation action brought against Nina Cresswell by her abuser after she bravely spoke out to protect other women, to name but a few. Cases like these demonstrate the need for an anti-SLAPP bill that protects everyone speaking out.

The Government will, in its own words, “set out further legislation beyond economic crime when parliamentary time allows.” This can only happen if an Anti-SLAPP Bill is included in the King’s Speech, which will outline the Government’s programme of work in the coming Parliamentary session. This would be the last opportunity to realise the commitment before the expected general election.

Addressing this issue has broad public and political support and represents a significant opportunity to protect free speech and shield British courts from abuse.

Kind regards,

Rachel Corp, CEO, ITN

Alison Phillips, Editor, The Mirror

Chris Evans, Editor, The Telegraph

Katharine Viner, Editor-in-Chief, The Guardian

Victoria Newton, Editor-in-Chief, The Sun

Paul Webster, Editor, The Observer

Roula Khalaf, Editor, The Financial Times

Tony Gallagher, Editor, The Times

Ben Taylor, Editor, The Sunday Times

John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg

Ian Hislop, Editor, Private Eye

Alan Rusbridger, Editor, Prospect Magazine

Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist

Julian Richards, Managing Editor, openDemocracy

Oliver Duff, Editor-in-Chief, i

Rozina Breen, CEO, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ)

Drew Sullivan, Co-Founder, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)

Paul Radu, Co-Founder, OCCRP

Eliot Higgins, Founder, Bellingcat

James Harding, Founder & Editor, Tortoise

Franz Wild, Editor, TBIJ

Joanna Prior, CEO, Pan Macmillan

Arabella Pike, Publishing Director, HarperCollins UK

Dan Conway, CEO, Publishers Association

José Borghino, Secretary General, International Publishers Association

Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary, National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

Sayra Tekin, Director of Legal, News Media Association (NMA)

Dawn Alford, Executive Director, Society of Editors

Gill Phillips, Editorial Legal Consultant, Guardian News & Media

Pia Sarma, Editorial Legal Director, Times Newspapers Ltd

Adam Cannon, Director of Legal, NGN

Sarah Baxter, Director, Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting

Rachel Oldroyd, Deputy Investigations Editor, The Guardian

Juliette Garside, Deputy Business Editor, The Guardian

Stewart Kirkpatrick, Head of Impact, openDemocracy

Chrissie Giles, Deputy Editor, TBIJ

Richard Sambrook, Co-Chair of the Board, TBIJ

Isabel Hilton, Co-Chair of the Board, TBIJ

Mark Stephens CBE, Partner, Howard Kennedy LLP

Matthew Jury, Managing Partner, McCue Jury and Partners

Caroline Kean, Consultant Partner, Wiggin

David Price KC

Rupert Cowper-Coles, Partner, RPC

Paul Caruana Galizia, Reporter, Tortoise

Oliver Bullough, Journalist and author

Peter Geoghegan, Journalist and author

Carole Cadwalladr, Journalist, The Observer

Catherine Belton, Journalist and author of Putin’s People: How the KGB took back Russia and then took on the west

Richard Brooks, journalist, Private Eye

Meirion Jones, investigative journalist

Sean O’Neill, Senior Writer, The Times

George Greenwood, Investigations Reporter, The Times

Clare Rewcastle Brown, Investigative Journalist and Founder, The Sarawak Report

Nina Cresswell, Writer and journalist

Matthew Caruana Galizia, Director, The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation

Jodie Ginsberg, President, Committee to Protect Journalists

Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director, Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

Zelda Perkins, Co-Founder, Can’t Buy My Silence campaign to ban the misuse of NDAs

Dr Julie Macfarlane, Co-Founder, Can’t Buy My Silence campaign to ban the misuse of NDAs

James Nixey, Director, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House

Edward Lucas, Author, European and transatlantic security consultant and fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA)

John Heathershaw, Professor of International Relations, University of Exeter

Dr Tena Prelec, Research Associate, LSEE Research on SEE, LSE

Dr Peter Coe, Associate Professor in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham

Thomas Mayne, Research Fellow, University of Oxford