IPI Project Page: Europe, Defamation Laws and Press Freedom

Defamation Laws and Press Freedom

Welcome to the home page of IPI's project on defamation laws and press freedom in Europe!

Despite ranking highly on global press-freedom measures, the vast majority of EU states maintain outdated defamation laws that affect the media's ability to deliver news in the public interest. Our project aims to raise awareness about these laws among policymakers and the general public and generate momentum for legal reform. At the same time, we are working to ensure that European journalists are aware of international standards on defamation and freedom of expression so they can more effectively defend their rights.

This website presents the latest project news and provides critical background information to the issue of defamation and its relationship to the free flow of information in Europe. 

In mid-July 2014, we released three key documents to kick-start our work. The first ("Report on Defamation Law") offers a provisional overview of defamation law in the EU and its relationship to international standards on free expression. This is an IPI analysis based on data collected by IPI and several research partners.

The second ("Perceptions Survey") presents the provisional results of a pioneering IPI perceptions study that collected the personal views and experiences of EU journalists, editors and media executives on the effects of defamation law. The survey bears witness to the dangerous chilling effect that defamation laws can have on the free flow of information and offers a mandate for increased training of journalists on such laws.  

The third ("International Standards") is an IPI document that summarises relevant international standards on freedom of expression and defamation, as originally developed in 2000 by the London-based civil society organisation ARTICLE 19. It also presents the results of research conducted by IPI on the viewpoint on those standards held by leading international legal and intergovernmental bodies, with particular focus placed on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). 

In the months to come, we will be continuing to add content, including news about our training and capacity-building modules planned for the fall of 2014 - so stay tuned!

Our work on defamation is currently co-funded by the Opens external link in new windowEuropean Commission under its European Centre for Press and Media Freedom pilot programme.