The United Nations Watchdogs are monitoring the dreadfully slow pace of change, in deling with the most pressing issues facing planet earth




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Indigenous peoples are most at risk and not too blame for climate change



The chances of there being intelligent life in other galaxies is remote, especially as the moment a species evolves to be able to exploit their planet, they inevitably destroy their home by exhausting their natural resources. Humans are living proof of that. COP26 was disappointing, save that coal was finally admitted to the agenda and there was an agreement in principle that fossil fuel subsidies should be eliminated, to give renewable energy a level playing field. COP27 and 28, made few forward strides. Leaving COP29, to be held within another oil based economy, and another oil official in charge.






Anyone who puts their head above the parapet, will come up against unreasonable objection to legitimate and reasoned criticism. Typically, this involves fiefdoms and kleptocratic empire builders.


The usual way for such persons, who may claim to be operating in an official capacity, is by way of threatening litigation, while pretending to be acting in a pseudo official capacity, or for a corporate entity. In particular, the Press and Investigative Reporters are targets for such harassment and intimidation. Events like these are called SLAPP actions: Strategic Law Suits to Prevent Public Participation.



- SLAPPs are used by wealthy individuals, including Russian oligarchs, and companies to obstruct freedom of the press and prevent publication of critical stories.


- New taskforce will build on work in Economic Crime Bill to ban SLAPPs in British courts


Journalists will be better protected exposing the crimes of powerful figures under plans for a new government-led taskforce to clamp down on obstructive and costly legal action designed to silence critics.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer will today (Monday 11 Sept) attend the inaugural meeting of the taskforce, dedicated to tackling Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), to help drive forward the government’s agenda to make sure appropriate protections exist for journalists tirelessly working to investigate and publish stories in the public interest, holding power to account and supporting our strong democratic tradition.

SLAPPs are used by the wealthy to intimidate and financially exhaust those seeking to expose wrongdoing, threatening them with extreme costs for defending a claim. They have been used prominently by Russian oligarchs to silence journalists, often using bogus defamation and privacy grounds that prevent the publication of information in the public interest.

A recent report by the Thomson Reuters Foundation found that SLAPPs have risen substantially since 2015, with half of journalists saying they or their newsroom has experienced legal action due to their reporting.

The taskforce will bring together major players from the media and legal sectors - including the Society of Editors, The National Union of Journalists and the Law Society of England and Wales - and drive forward measures to protect public interest journalism from SLAPPs, including those linked to non-economic crime.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer KC said:

When I became Culture Secretary I vowed to stand up for independent voices and nurture a thriving media landscape which upholds and champions fearless truth telling.

SLAPPs have led to journalists having to crowdfund their legal fees and some have even been forced to sell their homes - simply for doing their job.

Working together with industry leaders, we will develop strong measures which enhance the freedom of the press to expose wrongdoing without fear of our justice system being abused to silence journalists.

UK Bureau Director for Reporters Without Borders Fiona O’Brien said:

SLAPPs can have a devastating impact on the journalists involved and their ability to report freely on matters of public interest, so we’re very pleased to see the establishment of a taskforce that recognises them as a serious and pressing threat. This is a welcome step towards ensuring UK journalists are better protected from such abusive and damaging lawsuits.

While it is difficult to tell how often SLAPPs are used, because they usually operate before papers are lodged or there is a direct interaction with the justice system, data from the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) shows they are on the rise in the UK, with 14 estimated in England and Wales in 2021, up from two in both 2020 and 2019. There was one case in 2018.

SLAPPs also present an increasingly worrying threat to democracy across Europe, too, with CASE’s database increasing from 570 cases in 2022 to over 820 cases in 2023.

The taskforce is expected to commission research to investigate the prevalence of SLAPPs used against journalists. It will also explore how legal services regulation could be used to prevent or mitigate SLAPPs, draw up plans for new specialist training for judges and law professionals to help them identify and throw out SLAPPs more easily, and develop guidance to support journalists, publications or law professionals.

The government has already amended its Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill to clamp down on SLAPPs linked to economic crime, which cover the vast majority (estimated at up to 70 per cent) of such cases brought to UK courts. The changes will allow SLAPPs to be thrown out by judges more quickly and place a cap on the costs for those targeted, making them less effective at strong-arming reporters into abandoning their stories. The government has also committed to legislating to tackle SLAPPs outside of economic crime as soon as parliamentary time allows.

The government recognises the need to protect defendants from abusive litigation whilst ensuring access to justice for legitimate claims. The Bill will set out a clear legal definition for a SLAPP, which ensures the application of this legislation is appropriate and fair.

The new taskforce will report regularly on progress to clamp down on SLAPPs to the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists at its bi-monthly meetings. The Committee, set up by the government, brings together representatives from government, journalism, policing, prosecution services and civil society to work in collaboration.

The group led the development of the National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists in 2021 to ensure journalists in the UK can carry out their jobs free from threats or violence.





Criticism that is well balanced is deemed to be constructive, and must remain unfettered if it to be of value in lobbying for change. Where the UN professes not to be a political organization and does not lobby or march, or endorse activism, that is the driving force when it comes to political will.


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