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New ULB research on the role of self-regulation in fighting SLAPPs


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The Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) investigated the role of self-regulatory bodies regarding Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) against journalists in Europe.

Thirteen media councils and three ethical committees of professional associations responded to their questionnaire. It aimed at identifying their position on their knowledge, experience and perception of SLAPPs, understanding of their role and rules regarding SLAPPs, the judiciary environment of their country in this matter and knowledge about European anti-SLAPP legislation.

Results showed that bodies working in countries not so affected by SLAPPs tend to have more vague and less alarming assumptions than those that are grappling with many cases. They also showed that media councils and journalists’ associations have different attitudes towards SLAPPs. The former are composed of publishers, journalists, and sometimes public representatives, and thus mediate potentially divergent interests. The latter are professional organisations dedicated to journalists. Media councils tend to defer the ability to act and fight against SLAPPs to the professional associations and few of them consider SLAPPs as an ethical issue, and therefore in their field of expertise, because of their legal nature.

You can read the summary and conclusions of their research, currently under peer review, here.