SLAPP: Silencing the Public – Conference in Zurich, 5 May 2022

SLAPP: Silencing the Public – Conference in Zurich, 5 May 2022

For the first time, an increasingly hot public issue will be discussed in Switzerland at a conference: the impact of abusive lawsuits on journalism and civil society. Join our conference and learn how SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) are threatening democracy and how politics should react.

Silencing the Public: SLAPPs and their impact on journalism and civil society
Conference in Zurich, 5 May 2022


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Journalists and civil society are increasingly under pressure: freedom of press and freedom of expression are being questioned by potentates, oligarchs and the corporate world who have discovered the power of legal means to silence critical voices. SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) have become a popular tool for the powerful and wealthy to intimidate journalists and NGOs and affect their work on a daily basis.


While the European Union is about to issue recommendations to the member states on measures against SLAPPs, the public debate in Switzerland is still in an initial stage. In this one-day conference, SLAPP affected journalists and civil society activists discuss the impacts of SLAPPs on journalism and civil society with legal practitioners and politicians. The participants learn about the current developments at the EU level and identify potential legal and political avenues to counter this worrying trend in Switzerland.



Organisational details
Date: 5 May 2022
Venue: Kirchgemeindehaus Johannes, Limmatstrasse 114, 8005 Zurich
Language: The conference will be held in English
Organisation: Bruno Manser Fonds in cooperation with CASE
Attendance Fee: CHF 100.– (Reduced fee of CHF 50.– for students and members of the Bruno Manser Fonds) including lunch and coffee breaks



Program
09.00    Welcome address by the Bruno Manser Fonds
09.10    Keynote 1: Shutting out criticism: How SLAPPs threaten European Democracy
              Charlie Holt, Greenpeace / CASE, Amsterdam
09.30    Keynote 2: How SLAPPs threaten journalistic work on corruption
              Stevan Dojcinovic, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) , Belgrade
09.50    Panel 1: SLAPPs and their impact on journalism
10.50    Break
11.15    Panel 2: SLAPPs and their impact on civil society
12.30    Lunch Break
13.30    Keynote 3: Countering SLAPPs in Europe and EU recent proposals
              Flutura Kusari, Legal Advisor, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, Leipzig
14.00    Panel 3: The need for a Swiss anti-SLAPP regulation and the way forward
15.10    Closing-up
15.30    End


Panel 1: SLAPPs and their impact on journalism
Speakers
-    François Pilet, Editor Gotham City, Lausanne
-    Clare Rewcastle, Editor Sarawak Report, London
-    Denis Masmejan, Reporters sans Frontières, Geneva
-    Stevan Dojcinovic, investigative journalist, Belgrade


Panel 2: SLAPPs and their impact on civil society
Speakers
-    Celine Lim, Managing Director, SAVE Rivers, Miri / Malaysia
-    Lukas Straumann, Director Bruno Manser Fonds, Basel
-    Chantal Peyer, HEKS, Lausanne
-    Angela Mattli, Public Eye, Zurich
-    Oksana Mariuk, Lawyer, Ecoclub NGO, Rivne / Ukraine


Panel 3: The need for anti-SLAPP measures and the way forward in Switzerland
Speakers

-    Charlie Holt, Greenpeace legal advisor / CASE, London

-    Flutura Kusari, Legal Advisor, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, Leipzig

-    Bruce H. Searby, Attorney-at-law, Washington DC

-    Raphaël Mahaim, Lawyer and member of the Swiss Parliament for the Green Party, Lausanne

-    Denis Masmejan, Reporters sans Frontières, Geneva

-    Lukas Straumann, Director Bruno Manser Fonds, Basel





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