After raising concerns on several issues, the European Commission now has promised to promote healthy and better journalism, as well as defending the rights of journalists, hence, providing them with a “pressurized-free environment” to work.
The Commission cites, “We promised to defend better journalists and human rights defenders against those that try to silence them. Today, we are taking action against abusive court proceedings to improve the protection of those who take risks and speak up when the public interest is at stake”.
Further recognizing and emphasizing the significance of the Journalists, human rights defenders, and civil society in running a democracy, the Commission, highlighted, “The safeguards proposed are targeted to ensure the balance of access to justice and privacy rights with the protection of freedom of expression and information”.
“Journalists and human rights defenders are rising facing harassment and threats. This includes legal threats and abusive litigation, also called SLAPP. SLAPPs are a serious threat to democracy and fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and information”.
During the present times, there’s an immense “threat” to the press freedom and the lives of journalists.
Sharing the data, the EU stated that in the previous year, at least 439 physical as well as legal attacks against journalists and media workers were reported in 24 member states of the European Union.
To tackle the issue, the EU has proposed an anti-SLAPP law for cross border cases, which will provide – early dismissal of manifesting unfounded court proceedings, full compensation to victims and dissuasive penalties for claimants, and protection against third-country judgements.
It has also proposed training for legal professionals, journalists and human rights defenders and awareness-raising and recommends a similar level of safeguards for domestic cases of SLAPPs, and systematic monitoring and data collection, with an aim to make the EU democracies more “robust”.
In the year 2021, the ten countries with the most press freedom are, in order – Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Switzerland, New Zealand and Portugal.