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17 June, 2024
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Cypriot MPs decry threats to media freedom at European Assembly

MPs raise alarm on SLAPPs in Europe

Newsroom / CNA

Cypriot MPs Yiorgos Loukaides and Christiana Erotokritou spoke about the importance of freedom of speech and on the increasing use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) in Europe, during the works of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Loukaides said that there is a steady increase in threats to media freedom, defamation and slander campaigns, but also SLAPPs, adding that cases related to such lawsuits are not prosecuted, as a result of which pluralism and the rule of law are affected, a press release issued by the House of Representatives said.

The Cypriot MP said that despite collective efforts to ensure independent and pluralistic media, during the recent effort to reach a political agreement on the European Act on Freedom of the Media, some states attempted to include a provision for monitoring journalists' electronic devices for purposes of national security.

Loukaides noted that it is necessary to establish legislative frameworks to ensure the safety of the media, in accordance with the standards of the Council of Europe that include safeguards for the protection, safety and redress of those who have suffered legal and/or financial consequences due to SLAPPs.

"He also referred to the murder of journalists in Gaza and the case of Julian Assange, who is still in custody, without even being convicted," it says.

In her intervention Erotokritou pointed out the inadequacy of the existing legal framework, which does not sufficiently protect persons and/or organisations targeted by SLAPPs, leaving a wide range of journalists, media representatives, activists and whistleblowers, vulnerable and exposed to the dangerous consequences of these legal methods.

She called on member states to adopt a comprehensive set of measures against SLAPPs, while strengthening the integrity of defamation and privacy laws, and to ensure at the same time, the proper use of their legal framework, which does not undermine the protection of individual rights.

Cyprus  |  journalists  |  media  |  Europe  |  Gaza

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