The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has set up a legal fund to help journalists and media outlets defend against 41 lawsuits, OCCRP reports. The cases are strategic lawsuits against public participation, commonly known as SLAPP suits or intimidation suits, aimed at restricting certain new coverage and OCCRP is “fighting back.” The OCCRP SLAPPs Back effort will operate through December to raise $100,000 for the defense fund.
The organization says while journalists often win cases, the suits work like censorship and can “cripple” or stifle” media organizations. “Once the case has been filed, the journalist has already lost because of the time, money, and psychological burden spent on a years-long litigation process,” said Stevan Dojčinović, the editor-in-chief of KRIK. KRIK, a Serbian media outlet, concentrates on crime and corruption and is battling 11 lawsuits. Learn more about the fund here.