NUJ welcomes creation of government-led UK SLAPPs taskforce

  • 15 Sep 2023

The union will represent members through its seat, noting the taskforce as a “significant step in tackling the scourge of strategic litigation aimed at crushing freedom of expression.”

The National Union of Journalists has welcomed government action on strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs), through the establishment of a new taskforce. Its creation to consider non-legislative approaches to tackle the use of abusive lawsuits is undertaken under the remit of the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said:

“This marks a significant step in tackling the scourge of strategic litigation aimed at crushing freedom of expression and the work of journalists. The NUJ has been to the fore in highlighting the impact of SLAPPs at a national level and internationally through our role in the European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists. We welcome our inclusion on the government’s SLAPPs taskforce and will strive to secure an end to the abuse of legal processes to silence our members.

“The union has long called for urgent action needed to protect public interest journalism, including standalone legislation that the government must introduce to demonstrate its commitment to tackling the true scale and impact of SLAPPs. The harassment and intimidation of journalists must not be allowed to continue. We hope to develop a collaborative approach with stakeholders exploring measures that prioritise the safety of journalists, whilst recognising the threats posed by SLAPPs in undermining our democracy.”

The UK Anti SLAPP coalition has also welcomed news of the taskforce. The NUJ sits on the coalition, national committee, and taskforce. Access our campaign to stop SLAPPs.

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