A SLAPP in the right directionThursday, August 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm by David Wilson
A bill called the Free Speech Act of 2012 has been introduced by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AR). Its purpose is “to prevent so called ‘Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation’ (SLAPP) that attempt to censor and chill First Amendment protected speech.”
Anti-SLAPP laws are intended to stop defamation lawsuits—frequently filed by plaintiffs with deep pockets—that have little to no chance of winning, yet are aimed at pressuring the target into settling for fear of expensive litigation.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), while this is a good start, the bill is “written too narrowly.”
The provision only applies to “a representative of the news media,” and may not include bloggers, citizens journalists or other commentators on the Internet who need this protection the most.
Senator Kyl introduced the bill by saying:
The Free Press Act of 2012 responds to a number of recent incidents in which defamation lawsuits have been used to try to squelch criticism of particular groups and individuals…
The EFF Action Center has a page where you can “send your representative a message encouraging them to support anti-SLAPP legislation, such as the PETITION Act.”