Italy: Solidarity with Greenpeace and ReCommon, targeted by legal threats

Italy: Solidarity with Greenpeace and ReCommon, targeted by legal threats - Media

The CASE Italia network, the Italian working group against vexatious legal actions, supported by the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), stands strong in solidarity with the environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Greenpeace Italia and ReCommon. We firmly condemn the possibility of a defamation civil lawsuit which will likely follow the legal mediation attempt initiated by the oil giant Eni on 26 July, and rejected by the NGOs as a form of legal pressure affecting freedom of expression.

The warning about a possible claim for damage compensation came just a few weeks after the launch of the “La giusta causa” campaign on 9 May 2023, through which Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon sued Eni for ‘the suffered and future damages, resulting from climate change, to which Eni has contributed with its conduct over the past decades, by continuing to invest in fossil fuels’.

The CASE Italia network denounces Eni’s legal action as an unjustified act of intimidation against Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon, whose work is dedicated to major questions of public interest, such as climate change. They conduct such activities through solid research, investigations and awareness-raising campaigns.

Eni is not the only actor to have employed SLAPP strategies. In 2022, 161 vexatious lawsuits were filed in Europe. Italy has the highest incidence of vexatious lawsuits, accounting for 25.5% of the total cases analysed in the last year, according to a study by the European Parliament

In recent years, Eni has become a serial SLAPP plaintiff targeting journalists, activists, whistleblowers and witnesses in court. This trend, which includes, among others, legal actions against the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, Rai and Report, as well as legal threats against the newspaper Domani, is worrying.

Eni’s legal intimidation against Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon reflects the strategies routinely used by SLAPPs plaintiffs, whose main objective is intimidating, draining resources and chilling critical voices. Our organisations condemn Eni’s legal pressure as an unjustified act of intimidation and call for Eni to drop its legal threats, while also avoiding future harassment tactics. 

We also call on the Italian Parliament to adopt a law to protect journalists, activists, whistleblowers and citizens from SLAPPs, guaranteeing freedom of expression and public participation in the democratic life of the country.



Amnesty International Italia 

ARTICLE 19 Europe

OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)

Legal Human Academy

Foundation Atelier for Community Transformation- ACT

Frente Cívica, Portugal

Civic Initiatives

Xnet, Institut for Democratic Digitalisation