In 2017, the dramatic killing of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who at the time of her assassination had 47 vexatious lawsuits pending against her, drew the attention of public opinion, civil society and policymakers to the magnitude of the SLAPP phenomenon in Europe. The anti-SLAPP movement which arose following her death engaged civil society organisations across Europe and has led to the issue of anti-SLAPP solutions being prioritised on the agenda of the EU and the Council of Europe. In April 2022, the EU Commission presented its anti-SLAPP Directive proposal while the Council of Europe is in the process of finalising a Recommendation addressing the same theme.
The objective of the panel co-organized by ARTICLE 19 Europe and OBCT, as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response Mechanism, is to highlight the phenomenon of SLAPPs at the national level and unpack the anti-SLAPP developments at the European level. By bringing together advocacy experts, along with SLAPP survivors from Serbia and Italy, the panel will offer an overview of the progress and the state of play both at domestic and European level, while addressing the remaining challenges that media professionals and advocates still face in Europe.