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14.05.2019

Press Release: Defending Daphne’s legacy

Funding for the Caruana Galizia family’s court battles

A grieving family should not have to pay to defend in court the reputation of their mother, who was assassinated in order to silence her investigative reporting. Therefore, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom is delighted to announce that, thanks to Free Press Unlimited, 50,000 euros made available to support litigation in the case of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The fund will be used towards legal costs, court monitoring and project administration.

Daphne Caruana Galizia Daphne Caruana Galizia

The grant comes from Free Press Unlimited (FPU), an NGO based in Amsterdam, Netherlands and dedicated to press freedom and freedom of speech. Free Press Unlimited supports local journalists and media organizations to provide their audience with trustworthy news and information.

FPU Logo Logo of Free Press Unlimited

The grant will be implemented by the ECPMF. It will contribute towards three types of legal costs:

1)      Ongoing defamation lawsuits against Daphne Caruana Galizia:

There are about 30 active defamation cases in the Maltese courts. Many were brought by politicians she accused of corrupt practices – including Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Because these are ongoing civil lawsuits, her family is liable for damages if the courts rule in favour of the complainants.

2)      Public inquiry on state responsibility:

The Maltese Prime Minister has refused to hold a public inquiry into whether the Maltese State could have prevented Daphne’s assassination. The family seeks to establish whether the Maltese authorities knew, ought to have known of, or posed, a real and immediate risk to Daphne’s life and failed to protect her; and what should be done to protect journalists facing threats.

3)      Monitoring of court hearings:

The grant will also enable ECPMF representatives to be present during selected defamation court hearings related to Daphne Caruana’s work, to ensure that judicial proceedings follow international legal norms.

On behalf of the family, Matthew Caruana Galizia said, “We are grateful for the generous support and the work of our excellent lawyers. The grant shows how serious and worrying the situation in Malta is.”

“Around the world we see an increase in attempts to silence journalists by burdening them with legal costs until they abandon their criticism or opposition," said FPU director of operations Ruth Kronenburg. “Often, it has nothing to do with the work of a journalist but it is an effective way to make it impossible for the journalist to continue his or her work.”

Welcoming the new initiative, ECPMF Legal Advisor Flutura Kusari said, “Thanks to FPU, we will be able to continue helping to defend the investigative work of Daphne Caruana Galizia in court and supporting her family in seeking justice.”

ECPMF offers legal assistance to journalists and whistleblowers in trouble with the law in Europe, and a refuge programme of Journalists in Residence for those under extreme threat. Click here for more details on how journalists and media workers around Europe can seek help.

Contact person: Flutura Kusari, ECPMF Legal Advisor



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