VP Roberta Metsola appointed to lead EU Anti-SLAPP efforts

19.04.2021 12:38

VP Roberta Metsola appointed to lead EU Anti-SLAPP efforts

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First Vice President Roberta Metsola reading a document on a sofa at the European Parliament.
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In a ground-breaking move, the European Parliament has agreed to issue a report on having European Union rules to prevent Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation or SLAPP suits that threaten journalists.

After years of pressure, the European Parliament has appointed its First Vice-President Roberta Metsola, a Member of the Civil Liberties Justice and Home Affairs Committee as the rapporteur. VP Metsola will lead efforts together with German S&D MEP Tiemo Wölken in a joint report aimed at getting as far-reaching agreement as possible.

“This can become a water-shed moment for journalism in Europe. Journalists face threats of not only violence and murder but legal suits from unscrupulous actors who seek to silence media houses with the threat of vexatious lawsuits. Often these are cross-border threats that cost large sums of money to defend just by being filed - irrespective of guilt. The consequences, particularly on smaller independent media houses are devastating and the knock on effect has a negative impact on our democracy and the public’s right to know”, said VP Metsola.

“We want this report to have as wide a backing as possible, so it is significant that we will share the negotiation of the report between two different committees and between two different MEPs from different political groups. I look forward to working closely to get a large majority to back our proposals”, said VP Metsola.

She said “I want to see a clear EU Anti-SLAPP Directive tabled by the European Commission by the end of the year, it is true that the international law perspectives may prove challenging, but I am confident that we have a legal basis upon which to base our proposal.”

VP Metsola said “this is for Daphne Caruana Galizia who was killed with 42 cases pending against her and her assets frozen by the then Maltese Minister for the Economy. This is for her family who have to endure defending her name after many people refused to drop libel cases even after her assassination. This is for every media house, every journalist, every blogger and every NGO that have been threatened by crooked politicians, dodgy banks, corrupt corporations and those criminals with everything to lose. We will get this right, for them and for all of us.”

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The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 175 Members from all EU Member States

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