Journalism: Russia

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 24 May 2023.

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Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of giving (a) legal and (b) financial support for journalists who are the subject of strategic litigation against public participation lawsuits undertaken by (i) businesses and (ii) individuals linked to the Russian state.

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Government​​ ​remain​s​ determined to take robust action to tackle strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPPs) as soon as parliamentary time allows. We are committed to introducing targeted legislation to stop anyone – linked to the Russian state or otherwise - from abusing our legal system and using improper means to intimidate those acting in the public interest.

Reforms will include a statutory definition of SLAPPs, an early dismissal mechanism, and costs protection for SLAPPs cases. Our intention is that journalists subject to SLAPPs in future will benefit from costs protection (determined by the court), which will lessen legal and financial risks associated with lengthy proceedings.

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