First Anti-SLAPP Conference in Georgia

On June 29, 2023, First Deputy Public Defender Tamar Gvaramadze participated in a conference on strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP).

SLAPP is one of the mechanisms for limiting freedom of expression and public participation. The purpose of SLAPPs is not to seek justice, but to strategically intimidate and ultimately silence active members of the public. SLAPP is often associated with civil litigation, however, it can be found in an administrative or criminal context as well.

"A free and healthy media environment is vital for a democratic society. Threats to this environment are created in different ways, and one of them is SLAPP. Identifying the characteristic signs of this phenomenon is quite difficult in specific cases and requires a particularly careful approach in order not to jeopardize the effective realization of the right to apply to the court for the protection of reputation. Accordingly, raising awareness of this issue in the country has a special importance for promoting the creation of the kind of approaches that, on the one hand, will ensure the protection of journalists from excessive lawsuits, and, on the other hand, will not harm the possibility of meeting legitimate demands", the First Deputy Public Defender of Georgia said in her opening remarks.

The issues discussed at the conference included the SLAPP trends in the world and in Georgia, the role of civil society and other actors. Information was presented on defamation cases of Georgia. In addition, an anti-SLAPP platform was created with the involvement of civil society and media organizations, which serves to reduce the risk of unjustified restrictions on freedom of expression in case of a quick response.

The conference was held within the framework of the Council of Europe project "Strengthening Media Freedom, Internet Governance and Personal Data Protection in Georgia", in cooperation with the Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI).

The conference was supported by: Public Defender’s Office ofGeorgia, Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF), and USAID's Rule of Law Program, which is being implemented by the East-West Management Institute (EWMI).

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