Plenary summary: strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs)

During its November I plenary session, the European Parliament Plenary debated and voted on a single file related to the human rights of LGBTI persons: 

Strengthening democracy, media freedom and pluralism in the EU

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debate the report on Strengthening democracy, media freedom and pluralism in the EU (rapporteurs: Roberta Metsola, EPP and Tiemo Wolken, S&D). The report was adopted on Thursday.

The text of the reports states the following:

  • Hate speech: Highlights that in recent years hate speech and discrimination in the media, both online and offline, as well as cyber-violence, have become increasingly widespread against journalists, NGOs, academics, rights defenders and other civil society actors, including those defending LGBTIQ rights, gender equality issues, religion or belief, thus threatening media freedom, freedom of expression information and assembly, as well as public safety; recalls that online hate speech can incite offline violence; recalls the need to promote the Commission’s code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online; emphasises that female journalists face the same pressures as their colleagues for content-related issues. but are more often the victims of sexual violence and harassment; (¶11)
  • Need for legislative action: Agrees with the numerous civil society organisations academics, legal practitioners and victims who point to the need for legislative action against the growing problem of SLAPPs; urgently calls, therefore, for the Brussels I and Rome II Regulations to be amended in order to prevent ‘libel tourism’ or ‘forum shopping’ by establishing that the court having jurisdiction and the law applicable to criminal or civil lawsuits concerning defamation, reputational damage and protection of an individual’s reputation should, in principle, be that of the place in which the defendant is habitually resident; including the introduction of a uniform and predictable applicable law rule for defamation; urgently calls the Commission to present proposals for binding Union legislation on common and effective safeguards for victims of SLAPPs across the Union, including through a directive establishing minimum standards for protection against SLAPPs, respecting rights and principles enshrined in the Charter […]; (¶22)
  • Legal basis: Affirms that legislative measures at Union level could be based on Article 81 TFEU (for cross-border civil lawsuits) and Article 82 TFEU (for criminal lawsuits), and separately on Article 114 TFEU to protect public participation, in order to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market by allowing corruption and other abusive practices to be exposed; […]; (¶23)

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 67-68) (final votes (567): +444, -48, o75).

For a complete list of all texts (and specific paragraphs) in this legislature touching upon LGBTI issues, check our List of resources available here.