MEPs in the European Parliament’s Media Working Group wrote today to Christo Georgiev, owner of Malta’s Satabank, now out of business, to warn him they are monitoring his SLAPP suits filed against this website and Times of Malta on reports into his business in Malta.

“We have learnt that Satabank had been forced to cancel its operations in October 2018 after the Malta Financial Services Authority had ordered it to freeze all its clients’ accounts. We understand that the two lawsuits against Manuel Delia and Times of Malta are filed before the Regional Court of Varna, Bulgaria and that you are demanding that the contested articles be removed.

“Press freedom is not negotiable and practices using vexatious lawsuits that aim to threaten journalists and discourage them from publishing investigations are blatant violations of the freedom of expression and of the right to information. Journalists and their work are central pillars of democracies, it is their job to act as public watchdogs, investigate and publish their findings. We, Members of the European Parliament are highly concerned by such cases, in which abusive legal charges are brought against journalists in order to silence their work. We cannot accept these practices and we shall closely monitor the evolution of the cases against the individuals and outlets concerned. We stand committed to protecting the freedom of the press.”

The letter was signed by MEPs David Casa and Roberta Metsola together with Renew Europe MEPs  Ramona Strugariu, Irena Joveva, Magdalena Adamowicz of the European People’s Party, Socialist Massimiliano Smeriglio, Green Viola von Cramon-Taubadel and Alice Kuhnke, Conservative Dace Melbarde and Lucia Duris Nicholsonova and left-wing MEP Stelios Kouloglou.

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