In 2021, the Council of Europe registered a total of 263 threats and attacks on journalists and media professionals, a number that has only increased since the launch of the platform in 2015.
Alongside physical and online intimidation and attacks, another form of legal harassment is on the rise, aiming to intimidate and ultimately silence critical voices, including those of the media and journalists. These threats, known as SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation), have unfortunately not spared our members. ’SLAPP’ lawsuits, or serious threats of legal action, add to the current climate of insecurity in the profession considerably. SLAPPs not only create anxiety and legal costs for the defendants, they have devastating effects on news coverage. These lawsuits represent a direct attack on fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and information. They undermine media pluralism and act as a strong deterrent to democratic processes.
The EBU therefore welcomes the EU initiative against SLAPP. Every day, our journalists put their safety and well-being at stake to ensure that people have access to reliable and trustworthy information. We can therefore only look forward to the publication of the Commission's initiative and the start of the negotiations.