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SLAPPs: also an issue in Belgium

In a recent article in De Juristenkrant and in a blog we have reported about a set of recent recent criminal defamation suits in Belgium. Three cases were brought by leaders of anti-vax organizations against a professor-virologist, a journalist and a philosophy professor for their critical comments made on TV and on social media. While in one case the court declared itself without competence, in two other cases the courts acquitted the defendants as the critical comments did obviously not qualify as criminal defamation. In only one case the criminal court validated a counterclaim for vexatious and frivolous litigation – aka Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation or SLAPPs. These cases are part of an overall rise in SLAPPs in Europe which the EU and the Council of Europe are seeking to address. The blogs are posted on Inforrms Blog – The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog (4 January 2022), here and on Global Freedom of Expression, Columbia University (6 January 2022), here. For more information, see also the EU CASE submission, January 2022 here and here.

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