News Media Europe

News Media Europe declaration on SLAPPs

NME news , May 12, 2022

Stockholm, 12 May 2022

News Media Europe denounces the silencing of critical voices through strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs. Freedom of speech must be protected at all times.

Yesterday, the High Court of London published its decision in the case against Swedish news company, sued by Eco Energy World (EEW), a Swedish solar energy company and its Swedish owner, Mr Svante Kumlin. While the court dismisses large parts of the libel claims, proceedings will nonetheless continue before British courts.

The members of News Media Europe gathered in Stockholm urge lawmakers across the EU and UK to speed up the work against SLAPPs and to prevent the silencing of investigative journalism and the oppression of the freedom of t he press. The particular case of is an unfortunate example of so-called “forum shopping”, which we believe shouldn’t be possible. In short, a claim brought by a Swedish entity against a Swedish publication should be handled by a Swedish court according to Swedish law.

Within the EU, work is underway to address SLAPPs and News Media Europe has been a constructive voice in this discussion. We have high hopes that these efforts result in better protection of journalists and publishers against forum shopping and SLAPPs.

Freedom of speech and of the press are precious. Journalists and publishers need protection against SLAPPs so they can continue doing their job, holding power to account and informing the public without the fear of being sued or silenced.