Ending Gag Lawsuits in Europe: Protecting Democracy and Fundamental Rights

Mighty Earth has joined 119 other NGOs to publish a policy paper advising the EU to put an end to gag lawsuits. Gag lawsuits, also known as Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) are lawsuits filed by powerful interests (like corporations or high-profile individuals) to harass and drain substantial resources from smaller watchdog organizations, activists, journalists, trade unions, activists, media organizations, and those who represent the public interest. SLAPPs are a threat to democracy, fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, and the right to to assembly, for those who speak out in the public interest. It is vital that the scope of anti-SLAPP measures include everybody affected by SLAPPs, including journalists, activists, trade unionists, academics, digital security researchers, human rights defenders, media and civil society organizations, among others. 

 Recent examples of SLAPPs include Paypal libel against SumOfUs for a peaceful protest outside its headquarters in Germany, or Bollore Group’s 20 lawsuits against NGOs Sherpa and ReAct in France to stop them reporting human rights abuses in Cameroon. When Maltese journalist Daphne Caurana Galizia was brutally killed she had 47 SLAPPs pending against her. Greenpeace offices and campaigners have been sued by many companies across the world, including by Resolute Forest Products. 

Read the policy paper here.