Third Anti-SLAPP seminar in Spain
On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, last September 21, FIBGAR held its third Anti-SLAPP seminar within the framework of the European project PATFox (Pioneering AntiSLAPP Training for Freedom of Expression).
The event “Confronting SLAPPs: New Threats to Freedom of Expression and Information”. was organized with the support of the Barcelona Bar Association (ICAB), the International Criminal Justice and Human Rights Commission and the Observatory for the Rights of Persons of the Barcelona Bar Association.
David Querol Sánchez, Chairman of the Commission on International Criminal Justice and Human Rights, introduced the event and congratulated the PATFox project for contributing to counteracting these new threats to our democracy.
During the first session, Alessia Schiavon – our executive director and coordinator of the PATFox project – presented to the participants the key elements of the phenomenon (the definition, objectives and characteristics of SLAPPs), as well as the range of legal and technical mechanisms and tactics deployed against their targets, highlighting the challenges posed by strategic lawsuits against public participation for democracy and the rule of law. He also shared some recommendations and best practices on how to manage SLAPP cases.
The second session focused on the characteristics of the Proposal for a Directive on the protection of persons engaging in acts of public participation against manifestly unfounded or abusive legal claims. Justin Borg-Barthet, professor at the University of Aberdeen and member of the European Commission’s expert group on strategic claims against public participation, shared recent revisions to the Proposal with participants.
Finally, the third session delved into the complexities of SLAPP actions and their impact on freedom of expression and public participation in Spain. The participants had an interesting discussion with Alessia Schiavon, Laia Serra Perelló, practicing criminal lawyer, expert in human rights and non-discrimination, and Pere Rusiñol, journalist and member of the anti-SLAPP group of the European Federation of Journalists.
The seminar was attended by lawyers, as well as journalists and activists.