Malta with the highest number of SLAPPs in Europe

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – An analysis by the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) shows that Malta has the highest number of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) per capita in Europe. According to the study, 2022 saw a significant number of SLAPPs lodged in Malta, France, Croatia, Greece, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Georgia. 44 new SLAPPs were recorded in Malta in 2022, a significant change from 2021 where only 4 SLAPPs were recorded. This was the highest annual number of SLAPPs since 2017, when 33 SLAPPs were filed against murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia alone. Malta had the highest number of SLAPPs per capita, with 19.93 cases per 100,000 people, although the data was highly influenced by multiple cases brought by the Robert Abela administration against the online investigative portal The Shift. By the end of 2022, the majority of cases ?led were civil lawsuits (69.6%), while 20.9% were criminal lawsuits. 6.5% of cases were injunctions.
The three most common targets of SLAPPs are all media-related: journalists, media outlets, and editors. Activists and NGOs are the fourth and fifth most common SLAPP targets. The report found that the most common type of SLAPP offenders, were businesspersons (335) followed by politicians (227), and State-owned entities (113) in third place. The European Commission is trying to restrict the use of such lawsuits and last April it put forward proposals for an anti-SLAPP Directive, known as Daphnès Law, in honour of Caruana Galizia. The directive is aimed at enabling judges to swiftly dismiss unfounded lawsuits against journalists and human rights defenders, and establish safeguards – such as compensation for damages and dissuasive penalties – for launching abusive lawsuits. The Daphne Law would also ensure uniform legal protection across member states, where current laws on SLAPPs vary widely.

– Photo: Agenzia Fotogramma –

Source: medNews