Protecting Our Free Speech
Iris Erlingsdottir, Icelandic journalist and writer, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post discussing free speech issues in Iceland. In the article, Erlingsdottir discusses the chilling effect that SLAPPs have on free speech in Iceland and discusses the role that state anti-SLAPP laws have played in combating SLAPPs in the United States.
“To deal with this problem, many states in the United States have enacted anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) legislation. These statutes allow the defendant to file a motion to dismiss the complaint if it involves a constitutionally-protected matter. The filing of an anti-SLAPP motion halts all discovery. Once the defendant has made a prima facie showing that the matter is protected, the burden falls on the plaintiff to establish a reasonable probability of success on the merits. If the trial court denies the motion, the defendant may immediately appeal. If the defendant prevails, the plaintiff is required to pay its attorney fees.
The obvious benefit of such legislation is to greatly reduce the expense of engaging in journalism. It would help stop those with considerable financial means from abusing our legal system to bully those seeking to reveal their unsavory acts or to challenge their opinions. But even more is required to give us a fully-functioning free press.”
Yes, even more is required, and that is why the Public Participation Project is fighting to enact federal anti-SLAPP legislation to protect all Americans.
Read the full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/iris-lee/protecting-our-free-speec_b_1170333.html?ref=tw