Malta: Civil society denounces government's lack of ambition and transparency in press freedom reforms and renews calls for full justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia

ECPMF

16 October 2022

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Five years ago today, investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia was brutally assassinated in a car bomb attack in Malta. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues. Together with them, we continue to fight for full justice. 

Today is a day to remember and celebrate her fearless journalism, the far-reaching impact of her incisive writing on financial crime, abuses of power and deep-seated corruption, and her unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth and serving the public’s right to information. 

Until yesterday, progress in the criminal investigations and prosecutions had been slow.  Yet in a surprise turn of events on Friday, the Criminal Court sentenced brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, following a guilty plea, to 40 years each for their role as hitmen in the assassination of Caruana Galizia.  This is a welcome development although legal proceedings against the suspected bomb suppliers as well as the suspected mastermind remain pending.

Impunity serves to embolden those who use violence to silence critical journalism and it ends only when all those responsible for the heinous murder have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law: all the potential intermediaries and mastermind(s) must be brought to justice. 

Similarly, we must point out the unacceptable lack of implementation of the recommendations made by the landmark Public Inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the exclusion of structured public consultation, including with our organisations, on proposed legal amendments relating to the safety of journalists and Strategic Lawsuits Against Pubic Participation (SLAPPs), which in the latter case fail to meet international standards. The process provides a historic opportunity for the Government of Malta to implement its obligations under international and European legal and policy frameworks to create an enabling environment for journalism and to protect journalists. 

The lack of political will to initiate the effective and systemic reform that is needed casts doubt on whether Malta’s political class has drawn any lessons from Caruana Galizia’s assassination. However, justice for the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia could now be making progress.  The government must now protect those who continue her legacy.

 

Signed: 

  1. Access Info Europe
  2. Access to Information Programme (AIP)
  3. ARTICLE 19 Europe 
  4. Association of European Journalists-Belgium
  5. Civic Alliance (CA) Montenegro
  6. Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties)
  7. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
  8. Corporate Europe Observatory
  9. English PEN
  10. European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
  11. European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
  12. European Integrity Academy – AntiCorruption Youth Greece
  13. Free Press Unlimited (FPU)
  14. Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
  15. IFEX
  16. Index on Censorship
  17. International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
  18. International Institute for Regional Media and Information (IRMI) Ukraine
  19. International Media Support (IMS)
  20. International Press Institute (IPI)
  21. Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann
  22. Kosova Democratic Institute 
  23. Legal Human Academy
  24. Media Diversity Institute 
  25. OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)
  26. Oživení, z.s. (CZ)
  27. Partners Albania for Change and Development
  28. PEN International 
  29. PEN Malta
  30. Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
  31. Scottish PEN
  32. Society of Journalists, Warsaw
  33. South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
  34. Syri i Vizionit
  35. Transparency International EU
  36. Wales PEN Cymru

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