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Maltese Writers Network Calls For Legislation Protecting Activists Following Yorgen Fenech’s Plot To File Lawsuit Against Manuel Delia

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Writers network PEN Malta calls on the Maltese authorities to implement legislation to protect writers and activists.

This comes after Matthew Caruana Galizia revealed in court that Yorgen Fenech, who is charged with the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia, was plotting to file a lawsuit against journalist Manuel Delia, MEP David Casa, and other local media houses in the UK.

The case is a textbook example of a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), which has become a tool for intimidating and silencing criticism through expensive and baseless legal proceedings.

Writers network PEN Malta ‘expresses its dismay’ at the fact that Fenech plotted to file a ruinous SLAPP against Delia, who is a founding member of PEN Malta, in the UK.

“The attempt to mount a massive SLAPP against him by Yorgen Fenech is abhorrent and shocking,” a PEN representative said. “This plan aimed to financially ruin Delia and stop his reporting was devised with the active help of UK lawyers ACK Law.”

“Delia was cited as the ‘ideal first case’ for a massive lawsuit in the UK for his reporting on Yorgen Fenech as the owner of 17 Black and Fenech’s possible connection to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.”

One of the reasons the lawsuit never went ahead is because Fenech is currently behind bars charged with masterminding Daphne’s murder.

PEN Malta called on the Maltese authorities to immediately implement anti-SLAPP legislation to protect Maltese writers and activists. “We also call on all free-speech activists and the rest of civil society to insist on legislative reforms that protect journalists and activists from libel tourism and SLAPP suits.”

This case highlights the urgency with which journalists need to be protected from the criminal subjects of their investigations, and the need for European-wide legislation against SLAPPs.

This case highlights the urgency with which journalists need to be protected from the criminal subjects of their investigations, and the need for European-wide legislation against SLAPPs.

European Parliament First Vice President Robert Metsola has been spearheading plans to present EU legislation addressing the issue.

Do you think there should be a law against SLAPPs to protect activists and journalists?

Photo credit Yorgen Fenech: TVM.

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Belle dives deep into seas and stories. She’s passionate about mental health, environmental sustainability and social justice. When she’s not out and about with her dog, she’s more than happy to hear from you.

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