Publication Date: December 2023
Research and Editorial Team: Diana Hatneanu

Produced by the Romanian Center for Independent Journalism (Centrul pentru Jurnalism Independent) as part of their activities within the EU-funded PatFox project, the author of the report examine the characteristics of the SLAPP phenomenon in Romania. To be sure, Romania currently lacks legal measures to address SLAPPs. Defamation ceased to be a criminal offense in 2007. However, vexatious lawsuits persist, primarily pursued through civil defamation claims under tort laws or under the special provisions of the Civil Code on the protection of non-pecuniary subjective rights. Typical features of SLAPPs are evident in Romania as well, including demands from plaintiffs for compensation for both moral and material damages, and attempts to silence criticism by requesting the removal of content. The report also discusses a number of case studies, among them the prominent case of legal harassment involving politician Daniel Băluță, the mayor of Sector 4 in Bucharest. Băluță filed multiple lawsuits against the newspaper Libertatea and its journalists between 2020 and 2021, totaling 11 lawsuits. These lawsuits targeted articles discussing connections between the municipal government and local criminal organizations.

As the first survey addressing SLAPPs in Romania, this study represents an important analysis to understand how legal harassment threatens freedom of expression in the country.

Tags: Romania SLAPP Freedom of expression

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