An agreement on the law was found in the early hours of Thursday.
The European Parliament and member states reached an agreement on an anti-SLAPP law designed to increase protection for people and organisations targeted by “strategic lawsuits against public participation”.
The victims of these are usually journalists, employees of civil organisations, and activists, with the lawsuits typically initiated by large companies and politicians.
A final position on the regulation proposed by the European Commission has now been agreed upon by the EU institutions.
“Democracy cannot work without free and independent media,” Anitta Hipper, Commission spokesperson, told reporters on Thursday.
“This is why the Commission welcomes the political agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council early this morning at 2.30 a. m. on the new EU rules protect those targeted with strategic lawsuits, against public participations.”
The purpose of such lawsuits is to dissuade the sued person or entity from revealing connections and cases of suspected corruption in lengthy proceedings.
Last year, 160 such cases were identified in the EU. Tiemo Wölken, a German socialist MEP who was in charge of the file, said he is satisfied with the result.
“Cross-border cases are covered by this new law, and we offer a high level of protection for journalists,” Wölken told Euronews in an interview.
“They can claim also damages, for example, and there is an accelerated procedure in cases of manifestly unfounded cases.
“So, the court proceeding can stop very quickly. This will save a lot of money, a lot of resources, and will help journalists in defending against SLAPP cases.”
One important part of the deal is that member states will not recognise unfounded or abusive judgments made outside the EU.
The new law must come into force within the next two years.
Source: Euro News