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 Why in News

  • Supreme Court makes a case against pre-trial restraint on journalistic content.

  • A restatement of basic principles of law is always welcome, especially if there are judicial orders that seem to ignore them

  • The Supreme Court’s recent order cautioning courts against granting pre-trial injunctions against the media in civil suits for defamation is a reminder that such orders could have severe ramifications on the freedom of speech and may impair the public’s right to know.

What is ‘SLAPP’ (Strategic Litigation/Lawsuit against Public Participation)

  • SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation or sometimes “Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation”. 

  • It's a lawsuit designed to silence critics by burying them in legal fees and wasting their time.

Here's how SLAPP suits work:

  • Target: Someone criticizing a powerful entity, like a corporation, government agency, or wealthy individual, on a matter of public interest. 

  • This could be activism, investigative journalism, or even just speaking out at a local town hall meeting.

  • Goal: Stifle criticism by making the defense expensive and draining

  • The lawsuit itself may be weak, but the idea is to force the critic to spend so much money defending themselves that they give up.

  • Effect: A chilling effect on free speech. 

  • If people fear being sued for speaking out, they may be less likely to criticize powerful entities, even if their concerns are valid.

  • To combat SLAPP suits, many jurisdictions have passed anti-SLAPP laws

  • These laws make it easier for defendants to get SLAPP suits thrown out early, reducing the financial burden.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: SLAPP UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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