A May 5, 2019, photo shows flags marking the 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. (AFP/Frederick Florin)

CPJ, partner organizations call on Council of Europe to take action against SLAPP lawsuits

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CPJ has joined over 100 civil society organizations to call on the Council of Europe to issue a recommendation to address strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) in Europe.

SLAPPs are abusive lawsuits filed by powerful officials, businesspeople, or corporations against individuals, including critical journalists or news outlets, to restrict or censor critical reporting. They are characterized by long and costly legal proceedings that aim to deter journalists from pursuing their reporting.

The Council of Europe should now lay out standards in a recommendation that countries around Europe can follow to stop the abuse of these lawsuits.

The text of the statement can be found here, as well as the accompanying memorandum.