The Right to Inform - Data Journalism #19 | Datasketch
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The Right to Inform - Data Journalism #19

In this issue, we focus on SLAPPs or lawsuits against critical voices, which affect the right to inform.

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In this issue, we focus on a kind of lawsuit that affects critical voices, the right of access to information and the freedoms of press and expression, the SLAPP.

What is SLAPP?

SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuits against public participation.” It is a practice whereby individuals, companies, or governments sue journalists, critical voices, and human rights defenders to hinder their work.

These lawsuits are aimed at curtailing the freedom of expression of these individuals. Litigation often has high material and personal costs, so they become strategies to intimidate.

The fight against SLAPP

Twenty-six states in the United States have anti-SLAPP laws. Until now, the E.U. had no specific legislation, although it did have a background of protecting journalists, leakers of corruption cases, and social organizations. However, the European Commission is currently promoting an initiative on the matter.

Several organizations are working to address the SLAPP with guidance and advocacy:

CASE is a European coalition that denounces SLAPP cases and the people behind them, supports affected journalists, and promotes protective laws. 🌍

Protect the Protest is a legal advocacy task force against SLAPP affecting people participating in protests in the United States. ✊🏽

The Reporters Committee advocates for the motion to dismiss SLAPP cases when investigations are deemed in the public interest. 🗒️

Greenpeace USA has an anti-SLAPP campaign defending protest rights and freedom of speech. 🌲

PATFox trains lawyers against SLAPP in Europe. 💼

SLAPPs in Latin America

According to the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), between 2015 and 2021, 149 of the 385 SLAPP cases worldwide occurred in Latin America, especially in Honduras, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. The most frequently sued individuals in the region have been environmental and human rights defenders.

For example, since 2007, the Nicaraguan government has closed 54 media outlets, imprisoned 11 journalists, and hundreds of them are in exile.

🗄️ Explore the database

To keep on the radar

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