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19.10.2018

Open letter to Malta's Justice Minister concerning the destruction of the protest memorial for Daphne Caruana Galizia

Right after hundreds of people gathered in Valletta to commemorate Daphne Caruana Galizia Caruana, and right after the Malta delegation of freedom of the press representatives met with PM Joseph Muscat, the Maltese authorities continue their fight against memory.

Malta Memorial Daphne Caruana Galizia makeshift memorial in Valletta (photo: Flutura Kusari)

Hon Dr Owen Bonnici

Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government

30, Old Treasury Street

Valletta VLT 1410

Malta

 

19 October 2018

Dear Dr Bonnici,

I write to you on behalf of PEN International, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, the European Federation of Journalists, and the International Press Institute following our meeting with you and Prime Minister Muscat on 15 October.

During our meeting we raised our profound concerns about the repeated destruction of the protest memorial in honour of the assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia at the Great Siege monument in front of the Courts of Justice. The memorial, a form of peaceful protest against her assassination and a demand for justice, has been destroyed more than 60 times and was boarded up by the Ministry for Justice, Culture, and Local Government in September 2018.

We asked you during our meeting to ensure a safe and enabling environment for freedom of assembly and the right to protest, in particular at the site of the memorial to Daphne Caruana Galizia until such time as those who ordered her murder are brought to justice.

We are dismayed, therefore, to learn this morning that the tributes – flowers, candles, photos and messages – laid by the people of Malta and our delegation have been removed on the order of the Ministry for Justice. We believe this is an unacceptable violation of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protest.

In our meeting, you noted that you also wanted justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia. Your subsequent press release of 17 October stated that the Government of Malta “agrees with the five international organisations that the free press is crucial and a sine qua non in a democracy and the Government is fully committed to keep strengthening freedom of expression in Malta.”[1]

Today we call on you once again to uphold and fulfil this stated commitment in practice by ensuring that the peaceful protest monument remains as long as people wish to honour the memory of, and call for justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia.

 

Best regards,

Carles Torner, Executive Director, PEN International

Rebecca Vincent, UK Bureau Director, Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Flutura Kusari, Legal Advisor, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom

Scott Griffen, Deputy Director, International Press Institute

Ricardo Gutiérrez, Secretary General, European Federation of Journalists

[1]https://www.gov.mt/en/Government/Press%20Releases/Pages/2018/October/17/pr182251.aspx

Malta memorial Malta Daphne Caruana Galizia memorial removed (photo: Flutura Kusari)




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