Chilling effect - Definition from the Hotspot Shield Encyclopedia

A chilling effect is a form of indirect censorship that is used to suppress or discourage certain types of media or reporting concerns. The term chilling effect usually applies to legal action or the creation of laws that results in the public hesitating to use their right to freedom of speech for fear of retribution. Specific lawsuits used to achieve a chilling effect include the SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). A chilling effect is regarded by many as a highly negative tool as it often dissuades people from exercising their right to make free speech, and enables businesses and governments to cover up actions that may be deemed as immoral.