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27 Feb 2024

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom welcomes European Parliament adoption of the Anti-SLAPP Directive

Today, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom welcomes the Anti-SLAPP Directive – also known as Daphne’s Law – adopted today by the European Parliament in its first reading.

This marks a historic moment for the safety of journalists and media freedom in Europe. The Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), of which ECPMF is a founding member, advocated tirelessly for EU legislation to be put in place to address the use of vexatious lawsuits which undermine media freedom and to silence critical reporting. Daphne’s law was promised to the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia after it emerged that, at the time of her brutal killing, she was facing 48 active defamation lawsuits. What happened to her should never happen again.

Daphne’s law will provide protection for all those who engage in public participation on matters of public interest, including journalists. Some of the elements introduced by the directive are procedural safeguards, support for the defendant in court proceedings, early dismissal, award of costs and protection against third country judgements.

We would like to thank Vice president of the European Commission Vera Jurova, President of the European parliament Roberta Metsola and members of the parliament Tiemo Wolken, David Casa, and Viola von Cramon-Taubadel for their tireless efforts and all others who responded to our call for an EU instrument to be put in place.

The directive will now go through some administrative procedures and is expected to be published in the official gazette by the end of April or early May 2024. We invite European Union member states to start preparing for the implementation at national level.

EPCMF is a member of Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE).