Female journalists are very often the ones fighting against SLAPP and London-based “reputation laundering” law firms working for wealthy individuals who want to suppress public interest journalism.
This was one of the messages during an online panel on Friday organised by Open Democracy and featuring Rebecca Vincent from Reporters Without Borders, Clare Rewcastle Brown from the Sarawak Report, Susan Coughtrie from The Foreign Policy Centre, and Peter Geoghegan from Open Democracy.
Maltese newsrooms have been hit by a number of SLAPP threats from London law firms, including from SOCAR representative on the Electrogas deal, Turab Musayev.
Entitled, “Is the UK’s reputation management industry destroying journalism?” the panellists discussed the issue of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP), particularly those initiated in the UK, and legal threats sent from big-name London law firms. It also touched on how reputation management firms use threats and blackmail to lessen bad press around their clients.
The panellists agreed that “reputation laundering” was a good way to describe this industry that allows wealthy individuals to weaponise the law to silence, intimidate, and threaten investigative and public interest journalism as well as activists.
Coughtrie explained that the issue of SLAPPs really came to light after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, as she had more than 47 open libel cases against her at the time. Filed mainly by…