CASE’s Country in the Spotlight: Switzerland

| CASE team
National Advocacy

CASE’s Country in the Spotlight series shines a spotlight on our regional network which is made up of national groups and coalitions carrying out anti-SLAPP advocacy work on a national level. This month we shine the spotlight on the Anti-SLAPP group from Switzerland aptly named the Swiss Alliance Against SLAPP. Here’s a few details about the working group and the situation in their country.

The Swiss Alliance against SLAPP was founded in September 2023 and is an alliance of numerous civil society and journalism organisations and associations that have joined forces to fight intimidation and defend freedom of expression in Switzerland. The association wants to sensitise the Swiss public to the fact that economic actors are filing more and more intimidation lawsuits against NGOs and Journalists in Switzerland. The newly founded association is also campaigning for better legislation to stop such legal proceedings at an early stage.

A survey by the Swiss NGO HEKS/EPER of eleven organisations in 2022 showed that intimidation claims against critical NGO reports have also increased massively in Switzerland.

While only two threats of legal action were registered between 2000 and 2010, the non-governmental organisations survey has found 17 attempts at legal intimidation since 2010. Around a dozen lawsuits have been filed since 2018, several of which will be heard in court this year. Moreover, media organisations have reported that their members and their employees have had to defend themselves against several lawsuits in recent years, which were costly but had no prospect of success.

The legal system in Switzerland is rather favourable for SLAPPs. There are currently no mechanisms or laws that would allow for a quick identification of a SLAPP-case and a rapid dismissal of a complaint that has been identified as a SLAPP.  Moreover, in 2022 the Swiss parliament passed an adaptation of the civil procedure code which further compromises the freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Anybody who wants to prevent the publication of a potentially negative article or publication can ask for a super-provisional injunction on the grounds of a “serious disadvantage”. Before the adaptation it had to be a “particularly serious disadvantage”. This change in wording makes it easier to stop unfavourable press and further reduces the already shrinking space for civil society. 

Amongst the members for the Swiss alliance against SLAPP are the following NGOs: Public Eye, Bruno Manser Fonds, HEKS, Helvetas, Greenpeace Schweiz, MultiWatch, Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker, terre des hommes schweiz, Solidar Suisse, SWISSAID and TRIAL International, as well as Impressum, an association for journalism. 

For more information about the Swiss Alliance Against SLAPP or to ask any questions, contact them on


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