Korindo scores big as “International Bully of the Year”

European SLAPP Contest logo Prizes were awarded in six categories to European and international legal bullies. (© Case)

May 21, 2021

And the winner of this year’s European SLAPP Contest is... Korindo! The Indonesian conglomerate takes this year’s prize as “International Bully of the Year” – an accolade it richly deserves for its defamation suit against Rainforest Rescue.

As they say at the Eurovision Song Contest: “Korindo – 10 points”. The panel of judges unanimously tapped the Indonesian company for the title of “International Bully of the Year”. “Our nominees were particularly shameless in their intolerance to criticism,” said Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, member of the Green Party in the European Parliament and a member of the jury.

Rainforest Rescue has been fighting a SLAPP suit by Korindo for the past year and a half for criticizing the Indonesian conglomerate’s destruction of rainforest in Papua.

The co-chairs of Rainforest Rescue accepted the award on behalf of Korindo with a sardonic video message. “Thank you Kenertec and Korindo for giving us the opportunity to talk about deforestation in Indonesia,” said Rainforest Rescue Second Chairperson and Indonesia expert Marianne Klute: “With your help, we brought your human rights abuses and logging of Papua’s rainforests into a German courtroom.”

“Isn't it ironic that without this SLAPP, there would be more silence about environmental destruction? You gave us publicity,” Chairperson Bettina Behrend noted with satisfaction.

In addition to Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, the jury of the European SLAPP Contest included the MEPs Sylvie Guillaume, Ramona Strugariu, Vladimír Bilčík and Manon Aubry.

Other winners included the Italian fossil fuel company ENI and Polish politician Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who proved wildly popular among the voters for the People’s Choice Award. Germany’s energy giant RWE and France’s Bolloré Group went empty-handed this year.

You can watch the complete virtual award ceremony here.

The award for the lawsuit against Rainforest Rescue begins at 14:45:

The European SLAPP Contest, which was launched by the CASE coalition, an alliance of NGOs, was created to recognize companies and individuals that go the extra mile to hijack the legal system with SLAPPs – strategic lawsuits against public participation – which frequently target environmentalists and journalists.

While the speeches during the award ceremony may have been ironic, the contest is no joke. SLAPP suits are a threat to organizations and activists that investigate issues in the service of the public good, name those responsible and campaign for the environment and human rights. Such suits are thus attacks on fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and assembly, and ultimately on our democracy.

There is a growing public awareness among the European public and policymakers that such abuses must be dealt with at the international level. During the presentation of CASE, the Vice President of the EU Commission, Věra Jourová, spoke out in favor of legal measures against SLAPPs, including a model directive.

The coalition of 87 journalists and civil society organizations – including Rainforest Rescue – has called on the European Union to take action against SLAPPs at the European level.

The CASE coalition partners include Greenpeace, Transparency International, Reporters Without Borders and the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation.