Daphne’s Law approved - but work to ensure just transposition must start now - Casa

27.02.2024 12:26

Daphne’s Law approved - but work to ensure just transposition must start now - Casa

Important notice
Views expressed here are the views of the national delegation and do not always reflect the views of the group as a whole
MEP David Casa giving a speech in Parliament with a portrait of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in the background.

“It has taken 6 years but we have finally have a European Anti-SLAPP Directive,” stated David Casa, who was the first MEP to call for this directive in early 2018 and has been campaigning for it ever since.

Casa commented on the Anti-SLAPP Directive directly after the European Parliament gave its final approval on the agreement reached. It is now set to become law.

Casa started his campaign after Maltese media houses received threatening letters from Pilatus Bank in the aftermath of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The letters demanded that media houses alter their content or face financially crippling legal action in other jurisdictions. Mr Casa had labelled such action as ‘abusive’ and tantamount to the ‘harassment of the free press’.

“Initially our main hurdle was finding a legal basis that would empower the EU to legislate. Thanks to the work of Vice President Věra Jourová, that hurdle was overcome. But it is true that the EU could only go so far, and the Directive primarily caters for cases that have a cross-border element. 

“This is why together with the Directive, the Commission also issued a Recommendation which makes it clear that the provisions of the Directive should also be applied to purely domestic cases. We must work hard to ensure that this happens all across the EU and especially in Malta,” Casa declared.

The Directive will ensure that there is an early dismissal mechanism for SLAPP cases, that SLAPP judgements coming from outside the EU will not be enforced, and that effective financial consequences are imposed on those who use SLAPP.

“That Daphne’s Law is now a reality is a substantial achievement. But we must now ensure that it is worthy of the name it has been given, also by securing a transposition that caters for all SLAPP cases - even those that are entirely domestic.”

Casa thanked the Parliament’s negotiating team for its work in securing the Parliament’s priorities. He called on the Maltese government not to delay the transposition and to withdraw its own SLAPP cases against Maltese media houses, such as those related to fighting freedom of information requests.

“While we fight for stronger laws and protections, the bottom line is that a government antagonistic to press freedom is harmful for our democracy.”

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 178 Members from all EU Member States

Other related content