Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Reports show that media freedom is under pressure worldwide. Violence against journalists has a legal facet that takes the form of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) that aim at silencing critical speech. In 2022, the European Commission presented a directive and a complementary recommendation to protect people who engage in public participation, including journalists, from manifestly abusive court proceedings. This article explores the role that journalistic self-regulatory bodies perceive they (could) have in fighting SLAPPs, analysing 16 qualitative answers gathered via a questionnaire. Self-regulation has historically been a way to protect the independence of journalism and uphold its ethical standards. The open-ended responses help to understand how SLAPPs put into question the representations that media councils and professional associations use to construct their ‘professional jurisdiction’ (Abbott, 2003), and therefore, their ‘territory’ and the way in which they see their role in society. Our results provide food for thought on the handling of legal attacks against journalists.