European Federation of Journalists

EFJ joined call on the European Commission to end vexatious litigation against journalists in the EU


The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) co-signed, together with 25 organisations, a letter to the European Commission requesting to take action at the European level to address the threat of vexatious litigations against journalists, activists and trade unionists – also known as SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

The letter reads:

“The incidence of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) is notable throughout the European Union. Shocking as the extent of documented suppression of public interest activity may be, we are acutely aware that we are only able to document the tip of the iceberg. Inequality of arms facilitates coercive activity which results in the removal of recorded scrutiny, and has a chilling effect on public interest activity going forward.

The present state of affairs is caused by the existence of criminal defamation law, abuse of civil lawsuits for libel or protection of one’s reputation, and by deficiencies in existing EU private international law, as well as the absence of harmonising measures which would ensure that fundamental rights are upheld in the Member States. We therefore propose a number of short to medium term measures with a view to creating an enabling environment for a vibrant democracy in the European Union.”

The EFJ joins its partner organisations in calling on the European Commission to undertake the following legal reforms:

  • Update and amend the Brussels I and Rome II regulations relating to the rules on jurisdiction and choice of law in defamation
  • Propose a directive in order to introduce procedural safeguards throughout the EU
  • Introduce budgetary measures to morally and financially support SLAPPs victims


Read the full letter and legal advice