Malta Legal Threats Spark EU Fight Against Vexatious Libel Lawsuits

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat with Henley Partners chairman Christian Kalin 

Prompted by threats of crippling legal action abroad by Pilatus Bank and Henley Partners to several Maltese media houses, a cross-party group of MEPs has proposed EU legislation intended to clamp down on so-called ‘SLAPP’s – libel cases intended to silence journalists by burdening them with exorbitant legal expenses. 

The proposal states that journalists faced with such lawsuits within the EU should be allowed to request their expedient dismissal and to claim compensation. If firms resort to SLAPP lawsuits outside the EU, then the EU should be allowed to impose punitive fines on them. The MEPs are also proposing a SLAPP fund to help journalists with their legal fees, as well as an EU register that names and shames businesses that pursue these practices. 

The proposal is being fronted by PN MEP David Casa (EPP), as well as by Ana Gomes (SD), Monica

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