First court session postponed

The first court session in the libel lawsuit against independent journalist David Sheen, which was scheduled to take place this week on 18 September 2017, has been postponed, the Front Line Defenders said in a statement in English and French.

The court session, a pre-trial hearing, has instead been rescheduled for 9 November 2017.

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‘Worrying attempt to silence critical reporting’

The London-based press rights organization Article 19 has released a statement about the libel lawsuit against journalist David Sheen, calling it a “clear example” of a SLAPP suit – a strategic lawsuit against public participation.

Calling for the suit to be dismissed, Director of the MENA Programme for ARTICLE 19, Saloua Ghazouani states:

The targeting of a freelance journalist, who now faces potential fines of up to US$200,000, is a worrying attempt to silence critical reporting… and where such law suits are allowed to continue, it creates a chilling effect on independent media.

Click here to read the full Article 19 statement.

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Sue for 5 million shekels? Pay 5 million shekels

Libel Law – Amending the amendmentIsraeli newspaper Haaretz has published an op-ed by writer Michael Brizon entitled “Libel Law – Amending the amendment”, about the lawsuit against David Sheen.

Writing in Hebrew under his pen name, B. Michael, Brizon condemns the lawsuit against Sheen, terming it a SLAPP suit (תביעת השתקה), and calls upon members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to amend Israel’s Libel Law accordingly:

Permit me to suggest another small amendment to the Libel Law… if it turns out in court that the journalist did no wrong and did not defame, then the plaintiff will be required to pay the defendant the exact sum that he demanded in his statement of claim… If he sued for 5 million shekels, he will pay 5 million shekels… from the plaintiff’s private funds – not from his company’s funds, not from the public purse, and not recognized as an expense.

Click here to read the full article.

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‘Case against Sheen appears to be political’

The London-based press rights organization Index On Censorship has published an article about the libel lawsuit against journalist David Sheen, calling it a SLAPP suit – a strategic lawsuit against public participation.

According to IOC head of advocacy Melody Patry:

“The case against David Sheen appears to be politically motivated… No journalist should be prosecuted for exercising their freedom of speech.”

Click here to read the full IOC article.

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Support from Front Line Defenders

Dublin-based human rights group Front Line Defenders has issued a strong statement of support for journalist David Sheen, facing a libel lawsuit for his reporting on racism. The statement reads:

Front Line Defenders condemns the judicial harassment of journalist and human rights defender David Sheen, as it believes he is being targeted for his legitimate human rights activities.

Click here to read the full FLD statement.

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‘You can lose even if it’s the truth’

Chicago-based journal Electronic Intifada has published an article by journalist Charlotte Silver entitled “Journalist David Sheen faces lawsuit from Israeli general Israel Ziv”. The piece quotes Israeli legal analyst and journalist Yuval Yoaz, commenting on the legal challenges Sheen is facing:

“The legal arrangements in the [Israeli] law regarding defamation are not favorable to the free press… It’s really easy to sue for libel… And you can lose a case if you’re being sued, even if what you wrote is the actual truth.”

Click here to read the full article.

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