NUJ welcomes anti-SLAPP amendments but repeats call for standalone legislation from government

  • 13 Jun 2023

Union calls for journalists' protections on all SLAPP cases, and not those limited in scope to economic crime. 

The National Union of Journalists has welcomed UK government amendments to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill giving judges greater powers to tackle SLAPPs. If brought into law, amendments will create a new early dismissal process allowing SLAPPs about economic crime to be dismissed at an early stage by judges. The union has repeatedly condemned the actions of wealthy individuals pursuing journalists through courts in efforts to intimidate and stifle reporting.  

Professor Chris Frost, Ethics council chair, said: 

“Journalists remain under target by those with deep pockets determined to prevent publication of stories the public have every right to know. Although new amendments are a step in the right direction, principles must now be applied more broadly to capture those who abuse our legal system to silence journalists on a range of public interest stories.  

“Almost a year on from its promise to introduce reform, the NUJ is urging Ministers to ensure standalone Anti-SLAPP legislation is brought forward. We must ensure those unfairly targeted by individuals abusing legal processes to undermine democracy are not then burdened when defending themselves, facing complex hurdles, lengthy cases and costly bills.” 

The UK Anti-SLAPP coalition has urged government to take action to ensure all those subject to SLAPPs are afforded protections. The NUJ through its seat on the coalition, repeats its call for urgent anti-SLAPP legislation.

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