4th International Press Freedom Seminar on Combating SLAPPs against Journalists


The annual UGent International Press Freedom Seminar was, for the fourth time, organised by the Faculty of Law and Criminology and the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at Ghent University, Belgium, on 12 December 2022.

The seminar brought together speakers from different backgrounds: policymakers, journalists, academics and civil society organisations supporting and monitoring the protection of journalists, who shared their insights on Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs). SLAPPs are “groundless or exaggerated court proceedings typically initiated by powerful individuals, lobby groups, corporations and state organs against parties who express criticism or communicate messages that are uncomfortable to the claimants, on a matter of public interest”.[1] Journalists, human rights defenders and other actors who participate in the public debate increasingly are the target of SLAPPs.

The full report of the Seminar is available here. It reports on the interventions by the speakers and the discussions during the panel debate.

[1] European Commission (2022) Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on protecting persons who engage in public participation from manifestly unfounded or abusive court proceedings (“Strategic lawsuits against public participation”), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52022PC0177.