Free speech, healthy debate, peaceful dissent and the ability to speak out against injustice are critical to keeping democracy alive and well — now more than ever.
Not everyone agrees. SLAPP lawsuits, or “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation,” are tools of the powerful used to silence those who speak out against them. Through unnecessary litigation, the individual who dared to exercise his or her right to free speech is dragged through court and subjected to the financial and emotional tolls of a lawsuit. SLAPP suits also send a very clear message to others who dare to dissent: “Exercise your First Amendment rights at your own peril.”
SB 1097/HB 777 would create a process for Tennesseans to seek dismissal of legal actions based on exercise of their First Amendment rights.
Our rights to free speech should not be so easily trampled on by those with money and power. We should be able to hold everyone accountable for their actions without fear of retribution.