The Foreign Policy Centre (FPC), the Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ) and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) will hold the third edition of the UK Anti-SLAPP Conference both online and in-person in London.
Thomson Reuters Foundation are a supporting organisation, alongside long standing partners – Index on Censorship, EnglishPEN, ARTICLE 19, Media Defence, and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF). This year’s edition of the conference is being delivered in part with support from the Global Media Defence Fund.
‘Tracking Implementation’ on SLAPP solutions
The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Tracking Implementation’. This follows on from two highly successful previous editions: the first held in 2021, highlighted the issue of SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation), at the time not a well known concept in the UK; and the second, held in 2022, focused on spotlighting solutions. These range from legislative and regulatory reforms to practical support for those subject to SLAPPs and the need for efforts to introduce a broader cultural change.
All these aspects have seen progress over the last few months, both in and outside of the UK, for example:
On 13th June 2023, the UK Government announced a SLAPP amendment to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, currently progressing through Parliament. If brought into law it would be the first anti-SLAPP measure in the UK, but would be limited to disclosures related to economic crime. The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition welcomed this development but called on the Government to take more action to provide universal SLAPPs protection, regardless of the subject matter, ideally in line with the Model UK Anti-SLAPP Law, which already has widespread support.
Meanwhile the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the body that regulates solicitors in England and Wales has continued to open investigations into potential SLAPP cases, but the outcomes of these 50+ cases are still pending.
In the European Union, progress towards an Anti-SLAPP Directive has also hit some recent road blocks. A common position to a draft anti-SLAPP law endorsed by the EU governments on 8th June 2023 was criticised by the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) for heavily watering down the European Commission’s original proposal.
This third edition of the conference will once more bring together experts from across the globe to delve into SLAPPs and explore how we can reduce the impact such legal challenges have on journalists, media freedom and wider society.
To register your interest for in-person attendance, please email: [email protected].