How can David stand up to Goliath? Follow the first International Conference on SLAPPs in Poland

News Release
SLAPP Conference Warsaw

From April 25th to 26th, Warsaw will host an international conference addressing SLAPPs, organised by Agora, and members of the Polish Working Group ARTICLE 19 Europe, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Prague Civil Society Center, and Watchdog Poland. The aim is to devise strategies to combat legal harassment against public watchdogs who champion public interests.

The surge in strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) against journalists and activists exposing corruption and abuses of power is alarming. Politicians, powerful businessmen, and corporations are increasingly using legal threats to silence critics under the guise of protecting their reputation. This stifles important public debates and creates a chilling effect, impacting not only defendants but anyone daring to speak out against any wrongdoing. Regrettably, Poland tops the list in Europe for the scale of this troubling phenomenon. 

Such lawsuits and pre-litigation letters are often used to divert public attention from critical issues by undermining the credibility of journalists or activists. Does the EU directive against SLAPP lawsuits offer effective mechanisms to counter these malicious tactics? How might we utilise the ambitious yet non-binding recommendations of the European Union and the Council of Europe? Can examples from other countries in the region offer guidance? Lastly, how should Polish law be amended to provide better protection for those who monitor the actions of government and big business?

During the two-day conference, distinguished international and Polish experts will discuss available legal instruments, draw from best practices in other countries, and consider how authorities and civil society should join efforts to create concrete and robust safeguards against abusive litigation. Among the guests are former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Professor David Kaye; Council of Europe representative, Irena Guidikova; Polish Minister of Justice, Adam Bodnar; and Matthew Caruana Galizia, who leads the foundation named after his mother, Daphne Caruana Galizia — a Maltese investigative journalist murdered in 2017, who faced over 40 abusive lawsuits at the time of her death. Chief editors and journalists from national and local media outlets, as well as representatives of civil society organizations, will also share their experiences.

The conference will be livestreamed on the website More information coming soon.

We invite journalists interested in attending the conference, as well as those interested in the broader topic of SLAPPs, to get in touch. Please contact the organisers at: or

Full programme:


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